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Wellness Center Well-Intentioned

  • November 13, 2019
The caring women who staff the Wellness Center: Dr. Erica Smith, Mrs. Beth Mumper and Ms. Rachel Zooi

High school makes up the most stressful four years of a teenager’s life. Being accountable for finishing hours of homework, studying till the break of dawn, having parental pressure to excel at standardized tests, experiencing the dread and anxiety that comes with college admissions, students face much more mental turmoil than they should have to. That’s where the Wellness Center comes into play.

Designed to alleviate concerns and bring about a better state of mind, the Wellness Center creates a relaxing area for troubled students to come in and discuss their problems with professional therapists. The Wellness Center is meant to reduce the number of overloaded students who wander around the halls during class periods and direct them to a place where they will feel welcome and help them deal with issues that may be bothering them. With various features like comfortable rest pods, coloring books, and self serve tea, the Wellness Center seems to be the fix for this pressing issue. 

Unfortunately, I don’t believe the Wellness Center will be effective.

The main flaw I found with the Wellness Center was that there was no mention of the policy regarding leaving during class time to go to the Center. In all six of the classes I am taking this year, not one of my teachers outlined their policy in their syllabi for leaving class to take a mental break. Some stated bathroom breaks were allowed, while others stated that there is a certain limit to how many times one can go in a semester, but none have expressed that they allow students to leave class to go to the Wellness Center. And even if teachers do allow leaving for the Wellness Center, there are log-in sheets that force a student to share where they plan to go and hall passes that limit only two people to go out at a time. The only safe time for a student to visit the Wellness Center is during break or lunch, but break is too short and lunch is a time meant for socializing.

If I were a student who felt pressure and stress from various factors, I would not appreciate the idea that I must somewhat publicize the fact that I have issues. Openly admitting to struggling with such issues seems like an embarrassment that must be kept internalized and hidden, especially in a society that is still struggling to be more accepting of those with mental illnesses. Out of the ten people I asked, the majority, eight, said they would not visit the Center. One expressed that it seems to announce to the public that there is something wrong with them or something troubling their mind. I would much rather seek out a private therapist that can cost from twenty to two hundred fifty dollars per session than risking the public acknowledgment of my struggles.

This is an initial observation to the Wellness Center and the concerns raised could always be relieved. Currently, there are students who do seek the Wellness Center out and have received great aid. But for those more introverted or scared to reveal their insecurities and fears about their lives will still have a hard time to open up.

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