Understanding Mental Health As A School Community


Mental health is a serious issue. There is a false assumption surrounding mental health that makes people think that they are alone in their struggles—that is far from the truth. This year, no matter how much or how little COVID-19 affected you personally, we all have gone through something. School is no exception: schedules are constantly changing, Google is constantly crashing, everyone is constantly adapting. It is hard to keep up with all of the modifications and being forced to adjust to them. Social expectations are different and getting in touch with teachers or guidance can be harder.

The staff, guidance and teachers are providing resources for students in need. However, some students may not know where the district has put these resources. In a recent poll, 54% of surveyed students at Wayne Valley responded that they were unsure if they knew how to find where the district has put the resources for mental health in order to fight the stigma that surrounds it. Of those 54%, there is a common agreement that it is difficult to find things but the district “…must be creating [resources] and reaching out.” We have listed below some of the many resources Guidance and the Wayne Schools community has provided for students.

Guidance has created a few different ways to access mental health resources. On their website, they have a tab specifically titled “Wellness Space.” There, one could find different videos on meditation, skills to learn, and breathing techniques. Guidance has also included crisis information including several hotlines. The department explains, “It is our priority to be available whether emergent or routine to meet the needs of our students and address any concerns you may have or provide the support you may need.” Other resources can be found through their Remind, Google Classroom page, and social media accounts.  All presentations have been uploaded to their Youtube page so they can be accessed or referenced at any time. As for the annual events like the Wellness Fair run by the Guidance department, there is a plan to run it. However, they are not sure if they will be able be in person or will have to remain virtual.

One student polled said, “I believe that the school is doing all they can to help teens who are struggling with their mental health. One thing that I have noticed dramatically decrease as a result of the pandemic is people’s motivation to be active and involved in things they do in their school and their community. This may be why much needed materials for students are going unnoticed since the students themselves aren’t open to finding them in the first place. I really praise the school for all their efforts during this difficult time!” 

Students have also thought of some options guidance could incorporate throughout the year. Students in the survey expressed that they believed the best way to allow for more person to person interaction, whether it be through the computer or not, would make events either Google Meet or Zoom friendly. Some believe that there has not been “enough of an effort to [directly] reach out,” but creating a space that differs from a regular class meets could be a viable solution. A common suggestion was a monthly movie night that could be streamed over Google Meet by the guidance department, allowing students to interact with each other outside of an academic environment.

During this time of social distancing and virtual learning, it has been understandably hard to find ways to maintain healthy lifestyles and stay in contact with friends, let alone keeping up with assignments and staying in contact with teachers. Everyone has their own way of coping with these changes—some top polled responses were listening to music/podcasts, safely spending time with friends or family, staying physically active, and reading. Find what is best for you, even if it’s just a temporary thing to just take your mind off this crazy world we have been living in this past year. Most importantly, make sure to take necessary amounts of time for yourself.

What most have been striving for this year is more connectivity. Whether it be with peers, teachers, or counselors, we need it. Having Guidance-sponsored virtual events would make the distance we are separated from one another just a little smaller. 


A statement from the Guidance Department about their resources: 

We believe our administrators, counselors and teachers have a good understanding of the impact that remote/hybrid learning is having on our school community and are working hard to provide support to our students via direct outreach and use of technology. 


Guidance Resources:

Youtube page: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCq-mIOn7N3wKu2pyVQM8Hqg

Wellness Space: https://sites.google.com/wayneschools.com/wayne-valley-school-counseling/new-wellness-space?authuser=0

District Wellness Page: https://sites.google.com/wayneschools.com/reopening/wellness-resources?authuser=0

Google Classroom Code (for students): f3puqf5