While lockdown has put stress on a lot of students recently, a new therapy and hangout area has been established in our school called the Wellness Center. This is a place to go if you are feeling stressed, upset, having a mental crisis, or just need somebody to talk to. The program is being run by Jessica Zacarias, who I recently interviewed to get some insight into how it works.
When Jessica was in Grad School at Cal Poly, she worked at a high school nearby for a part of her training, and they had a Wellness Center there. It was a very unique space to work in because it was what she would’ve wanted for herself in high school, where anyone could go and not feel the pressures of being judged. Some of the students who would go might have really poor grades or a bad home situation, and the Wellness Center would be a place they could go and feel welcomed and listened to. The point of the Wellness Center is to be an accessible space for any sort of mental health intervention. The Wellness Center is a place for someone to either be able to chill and hang out by themselves or for someone who is having a mental breakdown and needs a safe, comfortable space to go and calm down. The Wellness Center gives students the opportunity to come in whenever they need to, and not disrupt their own class. It is open to everyone, including staff, if they need somewhere to go to just relax their mind.
Inside the Wellness Center are places to sit and relax, and all new furniture was set up in the space to create a clean and welcoming environment. They have donated activities, along with snacks, although, with COVID-19 there are limits to food and drinks within the room. The Wellness Center is a walk-in deal, where you are allowed to come in whenever you need to and do not need to sign up in advance. Students are allowed to hang out in the room during lunch and during class hours, depending on how many people are present in the room at that time. Jessica, who is usually the person running the Wellness Center area, also helps with therapy-type conversations, for anyone who might need somebody to talk to or listen to if they are having a hard time.
At the moment, only 3 students are allowed inside the Wellness Center at a time, although they do have switching times where students can come for a little bit and then give room for the next student. The Wellness Center is open from 8:45 till 12:40 pm on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays and is located in room 210A by the Senior Lawn. The requirement is to wear masks at all times, in order to keep you and everybody else in the space safe.