(Mental) Health is Wealth

Marissa Douglas, Reporter

When was the last time you checked in with yourself? How are you feeling? Is anything bothering you? How have you been reacting to situations around you? Who do you go to talk about these things? If these questions are making you think that maybe there are areas of your mental or emotional health that could be improved, Sehome has support systems available to you that we encourage you to utilize.  

For help anytime during any school day, the counseling office is open for one-on-one support. If you’re hoping to help people through problems, they’re likely to face, we recommend you join Peer Centered Outreach. If you’re looking to connect with people who can relate to and support you through what you’re dealing with, a club called Peer Centered Support is there for you, once a week.  Being able to identify that you or others could use some mental health help is a valuable life skill; the following will cover some ways you can gain tools for helping yours and others mental health.

Meeting with P.C.O. -After checking in with each other, P.C.O. works to help Sehome students. The club’s goal, according to Sam Bunn (12), “Is to improve the Sehome community because we see areas where students aren’t getting the help they need.”

The counseling office is open during school hours. It is home to Sehome’s Administrative Assistant (Kendra Simpson), Intervention Prevention Specialist (Meghan Lever), Student Success Specialist (Amy Brewster), Career/Vocational Guidance Assistance (Martha Zender), and, of course, Counselors (Amy Hjelt, Hana Schutz, Jeff Smith, and John VanderMolen). Lever specializes in helping with mental and emotional health, and dealing with more serious issues such as substance abuse, self-harm, and suicide risk. She supports and connects students through all struggles and will help advocate for students. A concern she has is that many people don’t believe that they need help as much as someone else, so they avoid getting help entirely. Lever says, “Reaching out and asking for help is a really vulnerable thing to do.” Whether you think your issue is big or small, you are still worthy of help.  

While Lever can help with most problems that students present, Simpson, Brewster, and the counselors are also all available to help and support you. For instance, if you already have a relationship with your assigned counselor, you may feel more comfortable talking to them. They can be especially helpful if academics are stressing you out, since they can manage your school schedule. No matter who is chosen, anyone in the counseling office will help you. If you need support outside of school, they can connect you with counselors and therapists within the community as well.  

Peer Centered Outreach (P.C.O.) is a club at Sehome that is trying to improve mental welfare within the community and is led by Meghan Lever. If you would like to spend some time supporting other teens while also building a community around yourself, this is the club for you. P.C.O. meets Tuesdays, right after school, for about an hour, in the career center. The club plans to make a survey to find out from students what areas they need to focus on this year. P.C.O. is looking for more members. They really value you having a group that fairly represents the Sehome population, so they are hoping more guys will consider joining. Sam Bunn (12) said, “The club is open to anyone who has a free Tuesday afternoon and wants to do something cool with their time.”  

P.C.O. can help you to understand other people’s backgrounds and see issues you never realized people faced, according to Bunn. He also mentioned that a lot of things happen in Sehome that the staff aren’t trained to deal with. This group helps work with these issues and helps the staff understand the perspective of the students.  

A Home of Health and Improvement -This club has been beneficial for many who have spent time in it. One member, who has utilized this club with some regularity, said, “I’ve been able to see my mental health improving, too, which is really cool.”

If you are interested in joining P.C.O., please talk to Meghan Lever to join.

Lastly, Sehome has a club called Peer Centered Support (P.C.S.), also lead by Meghan Lever. According to a member of the club it, “…is a place where people can come together to talk about their mental health in a safe situation where they will be supported and around others who share similar experiences.” P.C.S., according to the interviewee, has taught them many coping strategies that are healthy and provides a place to talk about their struggles. To them, mental health is something countless high schoolers struggle with so it’s very important to have a club that allows healthy coping and provides resources that they say, “will benefit them for years to come.”  

PCS meets on Thursdays, at 3:30pm, in Meghan Lever’s office. The club members are kept completely anonymous. Essentially, what happens in P.C.S., stays in P.C.S..  

If you are interested in joining P.C.S., please talk to Meghan Lever to join.