This past week at White Plains Elementary students participated in “Start With Hello.”
Start With Hello raises awareness and educates students on the dangers of social isolation.
This can be an overwhelming feeling of being left out, lonely or treated like one is invisible.
Dr. Frank McAndrew, in a 2016 article for Psychology Today, said that humans are hardwired to interact with others, especially during times of stress.
“When we go through a trying ordeal alone, a lack of emotional support and friendship can increase our anxiety and hinder our coping ability.”
This was an important theme in a recent feature film with Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence, “Passengers” (2016).
In the science fiction film, 5,000 people are flying through space in hibernation pods, but one pod malfunctions, leaving Pratt as the only awake human on the entire ship. How can he survive by himself and keep his sanity intact?
Jack Nicholson in “The Shining” and Tom Hanks in “Cast Away” also feature the dangers of isolationism.
“Loneliness isn’t good for anyone’s health,” wrote McAndrew. “It increases levels of stress hormones in the body and leads to poor sleep, a compromised immune system, and, in the elderly, cognitive decline.”
The Start With Hello program provides support in hopes of creating a culture of inclusion and connectedness. All week students participated in daily activities within their classrooms and learned about the importance of kindness.
On Friday, Plainsmen Stars showed their support by wearing green.