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SAN JOSE, CA – On Wednesday, March 2, PBS Inside California Education released a segment titled “A Place for Students - Wellness Centers” that spotlighted the new student wellness center at Andrew Hill High School in the Eastside Union High School District. The center is one of 12 located on school campuses in Santa Clara County as part of an effort to expand the availability of mental health services and resources to students on school campuses.
“We know that students are 21 times more likely to access services and get them earlier when they are available on school campuses,” said Dr. Mary Ann Dewan, County Superintendent of Schools. “We know that if we want to make a difference that the school campus is an essential place to be.”
Recognizing the mental health needs of youth, the SCCOE established wellness centers and programs in schools throughout Santa Clara County in partnership with the County of Santa Clara, community partners, and local school districts.
“Listening to the needs of students, we know that the pandemic has greatly impacted the students. Students are navigating stressors in both an academic setting as well as personal,” noted Dr. Dewan. “Wellness Centers offer resources to students and staff to promote self-regulation and overall wellness and provides a safe and calm physical space before, during and after school.”
To inform this important work, student advisory groups were created to ensure diverse backgrounds, perspectives and identities were heard in the creation of the wellness centers on each school site. The centers vary based on the needs of the students on campus, but all the wellness centers are designed to be a welcoming place for students to take a break, practice wellness or seek help from mental health professionals.
“I think what students want most especially when it comes to mental health reform is to be heard,” said Khoa-Nathan Ngo from the Youth Advisory Group, “We wanted counselors who looked like us, who understood us, and who had the life experiences that we had.”
These wellness centers are already proving to have a significant impact on students. One wellness center recorded more than 700 student visits in the first week.
“The youth mental health crisis manifests every day in schools, contributing to higher drop-out rates, student disengagement, chronic absenteeism, substance use, increased disciplinary actions, and the tragic loss of students, “ stated Dr. Dewan, in a recently released research brief on the efficacy of implementing a school-based approach to student wellness, which can be found on the SCCOE website at https://sccoe.to/wellnessbrief.
“Having the wellness center here on campus allows me to know that I have a support system to come and get help if I need it,” said Tiffany, a 12th-grade student at Andrew Hill High School in San Jose.
To watch the full story go to https://insidecaled.org/videogallery/video/wellness-centers-students/ and to learn more about the Youth Mental Health and Wellness centers go to https://sccoe.to/youthmentalhealthandwellness.
About the Santa Clara County Office of Education
Working collaboratively with school and community partners, the Santa Clara County Office of Education (SCCOE) is a regional service agency that provides instructional, business, and technology services to the 31 school districts of Santa Clara County. The County Office of Education directly serves students through special education programs, alternative schools, Head Start and State Preschool programs, migrant education, and Opportunity Youth Academy. The SCCOE also provides academic and fiscal oversight and monitoring to districts in addition to the 22 Santa Clara County Board of Education authorized charter schools.
For more information about the Santa Clara County Office of Education, please visit www.sccoe.org and follow us @SCCOE on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.