By Sarah T. Lehr
Creating a safe space for students
Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield is committed to improving the lives of future generations.
In 2023, the company launched its Take Good Care Calming Room initiative, providing 75 middle, junior high and high schools throughout Arkansas with $2,500 each to create 75 calming rooms to celebrate its 75th anniversary. Click here for a complete list of calming room recipients.
“I can’t think of a better way to celebrate our 75th anniversary than by investing in our youth,” said Arkansas Blue Cross President and CEO Curtis Barnett. “We hope these rooms will not only serve the students but will also have a positive effect on teachers and families and that impact will ripple out into these communities.”
A place to recharge and reset
The creation of the calming rooms couldn’t come at a better time. According to a recent study, more than 14% (about 83,000) of Arkansas students deal with anxiety and depression. With so much weighing on them, it’s hard for students to be the best they can be in the classroom and their personal lives as they grow into adults.
“The same way students have difficulty focusing in class when they are hungry or tired, they can’t be their best selves in the classroom or at home if they are dealing with issues like stress and anxiety,” Barnett added.
Calming rooms—sometimes known as quiet rooms or relaxation rooms—are designed to be a safe space for students to refocus and re-center when they are feeling overwhelmed or anxious. These rooms have soft lighting, comfy furniture and items like journals, coloring books, sensory objects, or games for students to use to promote emotional regulation.
The calming rooms are scheduled to be open at most schools by May 1. Each school will oversee the rules and usage of their calming rooms based on the needs of their students. The spaces can also be used for counseling sessions and group discussions.