June 22, 2018, Framingham, MA, Metro West Daily News: Hudson High students SHINE light on mental illness http://www.metrowestdailynews.com/news/20180622/hudson-high-students-shine-light-on-mental-illness Hudson, MA: Mental illness has long been a taboo subject, but a new student-led initiative at Hudson High School is working to change that. A Student Wellness Advisory Team (SWAT) aimed at reducing the stigma of mental illness, ending discrimination and developing in-school activities to promote self-care was created through a $50,000 grant from SHINE – a nonprofit founded by Fidelity Bank of Leominster. SHINE seeks to raise awareness and understanding about mental illness in children and adults. … The Hudson team – which includes about 15 students, wellness teacher Dee Grassey and nurse Patricia Emmons, and was formed in April – worked this spring to create stress kits that included handmade stress balls, pamphlets on stress reduction and peppermints for eighth-grade students taking the MCAS exam. … Levine and fellow freshman Emily Figueiredo have their sights set on other stress-reducing activities next year that could improve students’ mental health, including stress-free weekends for which teachers do not assign homework. They also hope to pass out bracelets featuring positive and uplifting quotes. …. At Bancroft School in Worcester, the administration holds refresh days where there are no academics and instead a series of therapeutic activities, such as yoga, meditation, speakers and therapy dogs to promote mental wellness, said Richard. … As a district, Hudson has been at the forefront of the mental health crisis, said Grassey. Staff members recently underwent training on mindfulness and the high school has implemented the break free from depression curriculum which increases awareness about depression. Richard hopes to expand the SHINE initiative to 25 more high schools next year. He noted about half of lifetime mental illness cases begin before age 14.