Image from Priyanka Gupta.
At Washington High School the topic of mental health seems to be treated carelessly, causing students to complain. During Flextime, teachers are supposed to present slides about emotional intelligence, yet many aren’t doing it properly nor taking it seriously. The resources available for seeking mental health at WHS also seem to be limited. Angela Luo is our ASB Vice President and has been an active member in leadership for three years. When asked about the available resources the school provides she shared, “I do think that we offer many resources like the wellness center, and then our student center as well, peer resource classes where students volunteer to help other students, and our counselors always have an open door and are always willing to talk to any student really.”
However, is Washington High really taking the matter of mental health seriously? Especially after such a drastic change in the learning circumstances from online to in-person again, it seems to be a common theme for students to feel disoriented and overwhelmed. Amidst the efforts put in by the school board and faculty members, there seems to be a large feeling of tension amongst many of the students, and perhaps even the teachers and staff as well.
To break this tension, not only students but also teachers have been striving to feasibly go back to the way the school environment and spirit used to be. This is important especially since it’s our second year back to in-person teaching. “I think we try our best, because we definitely bring awareness to students’ mental health, such as Mental Health Week and especially with student run clubs and focus groups they still talk about mental health there,” Angela says. “I don’t think it’s something that is underlooked, I do think that everyone still values mental health but there are many ways we can improve.” Improving mental health resources and support, as Angela mentioned, should be one of the greatest concerns of the teachers in the 21st century.
Although it may not seem possible to fully go back to the way things were before Covid-19, there can be significant shifts and changes made to make students feel safer and more comfortable at school. “Our methods of learning and understanding material in school have changed now that we are in-person again after a pandemic (that is still going on) so I think if we can find more engaging topics or methods of learning that can definitely help,” Angela says. “Also teachers and staff [need] to understand the students’ point of views now because it’s not the same as how it was a couple decades ago.” With these words, she highlights what specific changes can be made to create a safer space for all students despite current circumstances.
Adapting to the school’s new environment rather than trying to implement teachings or methods of learning from before the pandemic, may be one of our strongest tools in restoring better mental health in students again.
Born and raised in the Bay, Rachelle Lee is a first year writer for the Hatchet! Rachelle will cover topics regarding sports, campus life, and other issues that are occurring around not only campus, but the world! Rachelle is a senior at Washington High school and has been attending Washington all 4 years. She is an active member of the WHS Cheerleading Team and is also the Co-President of her club, Future of Our Generation! Rachelle is a proud owner of a mom car and a Dachshund. Undecided on her major, Rachelle hopes to attend a 4-year university after graduating.