Students at Dublin High School who are facing challenges now have a new starting point to seek emotional reassurance and advice.
The Wellness Center offers mental health services from school counselors and provides a home for student-run organizations where teenagers can talk candidly with their peers about their emotional pain. The Wellness Center is located in one of the portable buildings near the tennis courts at the 2,500-student campus.
School psychologist Sarah Munoz said the center will be a safe space for all students, according to a story in the school’s newspaper.
The idea is for students to come to realize that seeking help for life’s troubles, big or small, is normal, and that the center is there to welcome them with open arms.
The center offers crisis counseling for problems that arise in the moment, and students may also make appointments for regular recurring sessions, either one-on-one or in group therapy. A social worker will be assigned to the center, and interns from various social services agencies will be available.
The Wellness Center also will provide meeting space for two student groups, The Elephant In The Room and Bring Change 2 Mind.
The Elephant In The Room project was founded by a student whose good friend died of suicide. The initial meeting drew 120 students and staff to focus on how to improve and support teenage mental and social health.
Bring Change 2 Mind is national in scope, with 7,500 members at 250 schools, according to its Web site. The national organization provides its clubs with educational materials that help students focus on mental health issues. New clubs are also given a $500 grant to help become established.
The center will also provide snacks for students who may have missed a meal or forgotten their lunch money, so hunger doesn’t affect their focus in class. Students also were encouraged to create a garden outside the center to add a safe space to sit during lunchtime.
Munoz told the student newspaper she expects there will be modifications in the program during the first year, as counselors gain more experience with students’ needs.
The Wellness Center’s opening was celebrated with a Sept. 12 luncheon attended by private donors, school officials, and community leaders. Those attending included Amy Miller, Dublin Unified School District’s school board president, Mayor David Haubert, and Camp Parks Commander Col. Jon Ellis.