Art by Sandra Than.
The recent pandemic and the constant stress of school can be overbearing for some students. Help can come from different sources, such as friends and family, but what if that’s not adequate? Some schools, including Washington High School, have mental health programs to act as another source to help students. Although these programs exist, some students are not aware of the resources available to them.
Here are a few of the resources available to WHS students:
Neolth, a mental health app, was made by a group of college and high school students from across the United States who are trying to break down the stigma around mental health. “This organization uses technology to deliver private and personalized self care advice and practices,” the student ambassadors informed in a presentation. It supports students with stress from school and physical health, and gives steps for the student to take to reduce stress and reach their academic or mental goal. Each month students note how the app is helping or not helping them mentally or productively and the content gets updated. This app is about helping students manage their school work and day to day lives while getting advice and reminders on how to care for their mental health, even if they have no one to talk to. Neolth isn’t a program offered specifically by Washington; rather, it is a universal resource available to anyone. It was presented in a zoom meeting on April 21st by the WHS Sewa club, a club that aims to help the community and teach about leadership skills and emotional intelligence.
Women’s Empowerment (WE) is a focus group that aims to support women and promote social justice. “We try to create a space where [newcomers] feel comfortable enough to talk to us about certain things,” WE member Insha Syed explains. “We know there’s so many other kinds of people who need support, even people who don’t identify as women, and we want to include them as well so we can be supportive of everyone.” If you are a person, especially a young woman, in need of support and a place to express yourself, this is the place for you. To join, you can message Mrs. Danner-Vera on School Loop, DM their instagram @we.whs, or reach out to one of the club’s members to get a Google Classroom code and receive updates on their meetings and other events.
Counselors are another resource available to students. They are there to not only help you with classes, but also to hear you out if you have anything you want to talk about. When you have free time, you can go to your counselor’s office hours to have a private conversation with them. In addition, “Mindfulness Mondays” emails come a few times a month through a School Loop message from Mrs. Songponnopachon, a teacher and mental health coordinator. These emails include articles, information on mental health topics like empathy, and also surveys for students to take to check in on their mental health.
The Hume Center is a counseling agency that’s connected with the school district. They provide mental health counselors to talk with students. They spend time with you during school hours once every few weeks to talk about your day, emotions, and mental health. The counselors act similarly to therapists and dive into problems or concerns a student might be dwelling with. Ask your school counselor about Hume to see if they can provide you with personal help and conversation.
Peer Resources is a Washington program that has “peer Mentors who are juniors and seniors who are trained in basic counseling skills and provide guidance for students struggling with school or personal issues,” as described by transition counselor Laura Schrenk. All the mentors are taught self awareness, self regulation, motivation, empathy and social skills by teachers Schrek and Ottoboni. Students can meet with a mentor via this Google Form.
Finally, the Wellness Center is located in room 91 on the WHS campus, and will be open to all students when we are doing in-person learning. It is a place for students to eat, request counseling services, print papers, play games, or just hangout. Once school returns, there will be yoga mats, exercise balls, coloring books, games and much more at the center.
Struggling with mental health isn’t anything to be ashamed about. Everyone deserves help in their time of need and should use any resources around them to achieve that.