Johnson Talks Mental Health

Kristopher Johnson ’23 spoke about his mental health journey during chapel May 10. A member of the MUS Mental Health Club, the outgoing senior wanted to encourage students who may be struggling with mental and emotional issues.
When Johnson was in eighth grade, the deaths of six family members in a short succession sent him on a downward spiral personally and academically that led to destructive thoughts and behaviors. He found himself in need of help – some of which he found at 6191 Park Avenue.

“I know it’s preached all the time, but your teachers are here for you. They want to see you succeed not just academically, but mentally and emotionally as well.”

Johnson, who had also dealt with social media bullying and harassment, thanked numerous members of the Counseling Department and Lower School Student Affairs Director Anne McWaters, who provided constant check-ins and took the time to get to know him.

He said he will always remember talks about life with Lower School Assistant Principal Joe Tyler and conversations with College Counseling Assistant Director Jake Dietrich, College Counseling Administrative Assistant Kim Eikner, Upper School Counselor Candy Harris, Upper School Administrative Assistant Lisa Toldi, Director of Hyde Library Wendy Trentham, and Librarian Zach Sandberg. Their attention and care made a direct impact on Johnson, who graduates May 14.

In sharing his own personal experiences, Johnson said he hopes to inspire students who may be dealing with personal struggles to reach out to those around them.

“Whoever I’m speaking to in the audience, know that you’re not alone,” Johnson said. “We all are going through it with you and fighting our own battles. So don’t be afraid to talk to your teachers, your friends or even me, for that matter. Don’t make a permanent decision based off a temporary feeling.”