Mental health services intend to alleviate pandemic stress

Aida Belay and Cade Watson

Worries about mental health have been a common argument from opponents of virtual learning, and as Wilson students have returned to the classroom, those issues have become clear.  

“When we were sent home for distance learning, we were getting a lot of referrals for students that needed the support,” Wilson’s Clinical Psychologist Dr. Perette Arrington said.

Wilson has many mental health services in place. Individual, group, and family therapy, crisis intervention, monthly wellness newsletters, as well as referrals to outside services are available. Grade-level social workers are easy to contact through the Wilson website or direct emails.

Recommendations on how to manage stress and mental health are implemented by Wilson’s mental health team to ensure the emotional and behavioral well-being of all students. This team consists of school psychologists, social workers, school counselors, bilingual therapists, and a board-certified behavioral analyst. The mental health team has an instagram @wilsonwellnessteam that regularly posts words of encouragement, advice, and tips on managing time.

“In-person help and open conversations are always a great way to release stress and improve students’ mental state. If you are in need of someone to talk to, grade level social workers are obtainable and easy to contact through the Wilson website,” Arrington continued.

Despite the advertisement, some Wilson students have found the services inaccessible. “I was not aware of Wilson’s mental health services. There is no way to tell [they exist],” one student said.

The return to Wilson has been a daunting experience for many. The stress of the new schedule, classwork, social interaction and the coronavirus has caused students to feel overwhelmed.

“School has gotten so much worse. As someone who likes to talk to people, I think not being able to be around others or see them has been awful,” another student said.

Some students however, have felt as though their experience returning to school was greater than before.

“Coming back to school has been good. I feel like I’m doing better academically and I am more focused,” another student said. “The pandemic has allowed me to have more time off to focus on myself and to improve my mental health.”   

The Mental Wellness team said that programs were being designed to increase awareness, and implementation of these programs can be expected soon. •