Concept & Impact


Own Your Peace (OYP), created in 2007 under the leadership of Dr. Beth Pinals, is a wellness initiative that has become a model for developing a healthy culture for developing a culture of health in schools and youth organizations and initiatives. As an extension of the work of Needham’s Suicide Prevention Coalition, which was created in response to a series of tragic teen suicides, Dr. Pinals and the students developed their own educational initiative, synthesizing and making accessible external resources, as well as a highly developed internal network of support.


This work is an initiative to create and sustain emotional wellness, improving and enhancing school climate and fostering a community in which people can be comfortable talking about who they are and how they feel. Through small group activities, large scale events, and communications all of which run continuously throughout the year, Own Your Peace has transformed the culture at Needham High and in the larger Needham community into one of wellness advocacy for self and others. As described by students the wellness endeavor is about “being the happiest, healthiest version of you, persevering through adversity faced in social, academic, personal, family and problem-solving arenas, and working to make sense of the challenges. It is about taking responsibility for playing a role in taking care of the community, whether through personal connections or community service.”


2015-2018 Student surveys report the following data about the impact of OYP:

  • Students report increased awareness, including self-reflection, expanded perspective and enhanced information base regarding mental health issues, and more sensitive messaging about emotional challenges
  • Students report that the OYP efforts have offered specific tools for facing challenges
  • Students report that the OYP program has impacted the culture at Needham High School in highly positive ways – by increasing acceptance, awareness and understanding. They also report an increased openness and outreach to peers and adults

Contact Beth

Beth R. Pinals, Ed. D.
Licensed Psychologist & Emotional Wellness Consultant