Wellness team works to support students during COVID-19

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Graphic by Anna Arnsberger

Anna Dueholm

In the unprecedented times of the coronavirus pandemic, it may seem as if the only thing that’s certain is that everything is uncertain. This uneasiness has many of us feeling anxious or stressed. Being apart from our friends and usual support system may leave us feeling isolated. Whatever you’re feeling, you’re not alone. With classes, concerts, exercise, and almost everything else going virtual, Wilson’s wellness team has followed suit. Made up of Wilson’s social workers, counselors, and clinicians, the team has been working to ensure that everyone is supported and has someone to turn to. 

Within the first two weeks of school closures, the 10th and 11th grade counseling teams sent “courtesy wellness check-ins” to each family and requested a response to ensure all families’ needs are met. “I think that it’s really good that the counselors, while separated from the student body during quarantine, are trying to make sure the students at Wilson are in good shape as students and as people,” sophomore Nick Smole said.  

Some counselors went the extra mile to show support to their students. Tenth grade counselor Leslie Sargent changed lyrics to her favorite song, “Miss You Much” by Janet Jackson, and sent them along with her email. “I’ll tell your mama, I’ll tell your friends…send it in a letter or tell you on the phone, this wellness check is to make sure you’re not alone,” she wrote. The other 10th grade counselor, Evan Camara, sent his students a bingo game. 

All social workers, along with clinical psychologist Perette Arrington and Latin American Youth Center (LAYC) clinician Taylor Pickney, have been meeting with students for telehealth sessions. “While they are mostly students that were on our caseloads before, we are here to support everyone who reaches out. We can be reached via email if someone wants to schedule an appointment,” 12th grade social worker Lacey Maddrey said. 

Maddrey also runs an Instagram account on behalf of the wellness team. The account, @wilsonwellnessteam, features posts about managing stress, self-care, and more. “I think their posts have been great reminders of how to take care of myself. They also help me see that we’re really not all so different; a lot of the things I’m struggling with aren’t unique to me,” senior Maya Bravo said. 

In addition to the services offered to us directly by Wilson’s team, there are several other outside resources available. The Department of Behavioral Health has a free helpline, 1-888-793-4357, for anyone who needs mental health support. The Child and Adolescent Mobile Psychiatric Service (ChAMPS) is another option for students who are facing a mental health crisis and need immediate support. They can be reached at 202-481-1440 and are able to come to your home. 

Maddrey recommends that students looking for support also research therapist options. “I would also encourage students to check with their parents who can look into their insurance carrier about potential therapist options as many are working through telehealth, or asking their primary doctor for recommendations as well, which can usually be a quick phone call,” she said. 

Though telehealth calls may not be the most natural option for counseling, it’s available to us all. “We recognize telehealth can be an awkward way to begin services but in this interesting time, we are finding the most flexible ways we can to support and accommodate, so please reach out to us,” Maddrey said. And now may be a better time than ever for us to reach out to our friends and lean on each other as well. 

While these are certainly difficult times, the wellness team’s dedication to student support is an important and uplifting reminder that students struggling right now are not alone.