How to access Mental Health Support at Harwood

Maggie Aiken and Alice Lindsay

 

What is the Wellness Center?

Last year the Youth Enriching Wellness club (YEWs) opened up the first ever Wellness Center at Harwood after working towards its opening for three years. The Wellness Center is a safe place for students to access that provides a calming environment for a mental reset. The atmosphere of the Wellness Center is very calming and quiet with dimmed lighting, many different comfortable places to sit, two mini waterfalls and posters about managing stress. Students can play with fidgets, paint, do puzzles, make tea, talk to a trained professional and much more.

 

How to access the Wellness Center

The Wellness Center is now open every school day except on Wednesdays. Students must ask their teacher for a blue pass and then can spend up to 15 minutes in the Wellness Center. Upon entering the Wellness Center, students sign in and self report on a scale of 1 to 10 of how they are feeling, with 1 being the worst and 10 being the best. Students also indicate if they would like to speak with the staff during their break. After they finish their break in the Wellness Center, they return to their class. 

 

How students feel after visiting the Wellness Center

After a visit to the Wellness Center, most people feel the same or better based on data that it has collected. 96 percent of people are reporting that they feel the same or better on a self-reported scale after spending time in the Wellness Center. Also, 67 percent of people report feeling one point or better on the same self-report scale after visiting the Wellness Center.

“I felt a lot less stressed,” said senior Elan Shems. “It was nice to have a space for a mental reset where I could collect myself before going back to class. I feel very lucky to have a school that provides this space.”

 

How long has the Wellness Center been open this year and who is in it

The Wellness Center has been able to open full-time (excluding Wednesdays) within the past month, and has had a total of 450 visits this year. The space is staffed by Jen Dreimiller, Mara Urban, Bernadette Bloom, Skylar Bradley, Jon Berliner and Melody Frank. Jen Dreimiller is also the advisor of the YEWs. 

Jen Dreimuller

 

What the YEWS have done so far to promote mental health awareness 

The YEWs work to find new ways to promote mental health awareness throughout the Harwood community. They have created a “Stall Street Journal,” which are flyers with quotes, images and articles. These are distributed to all the bathroom stalls throughout the school, including staff bathrooms. Another fun project the YEWs took on was during May of last year. Since May is Mental Health Awareness Month, the YEWs participated by creating small goodie bags for all students.

River Collins, Harwood senior, joined the YEWs last year with a drive to promote mental health awareness, and guide peers to understand the importance of awareness. Collins is a senior on the YEWs and is one of the chair leaders of social media.

“I feel that mental health has been stigmatized,” said Collins. “Mental Health is something that isn’t getting the attention it deserves. A lot of people struggle with mental health and don’t get help. My goal is to help the Harwood community promote awareness.”