A Counselor’s Take: Is PPCHS doing Mental Health Right?


Graphic By: Kelvin Pinero


 A study from the Polaris Teen Center found that 1 in 5 teens suffer from at least one mental health disorder. Mental health has a significant impact on academic performance, personal relationships, and physical health. Despite this, mental health is often neglected in high schools. Schools focus more on student’s grades and their extracurricular activities. 


  As I started to do more and more research on the effects of mental health on high school students, I started to wonder what my school was doing to address this. I decided to interview Ms.Moses, the director of our school’s counseling, and get her thoughts on if our school is doing enough to address the mental health issues students face. 


   Ms.Moses personally believes that our school has improved in addressing the mental health crisis, but that there is room for growth. One of the main things PPCHS is doing is acknowledging the importance of mental health awareness and actively trying to reduce the stigma by putting out information and topics on mental health. 


   The guidance counselors go to classrooms and discuss these topics. Furthermore, training is held for teachers and parents so they know how to properly identify the warning signs and how to support affected students. 


   PPCHS has also started mental health programs/clubs including the Hope Sunshine club and the Health Information Project. Both of them aim to raise awareness about mental health and suicide. 


 One area Ms.Moses believes can improve is student engagement. PPCHS counselors never truly know if they are reaching everyone who needs additional support. Some students do reach out, but counselors worry about the ones that don’t. 


 Last year when PPCHS had their “Our Day of Peace and Love” event on the anniversary of MSD, they received lots of positive feedback from students. Many students said they loved how there was one day dedicated to this and their teachers having discussions in class. PPCHS counselors tried to send out surveys. However, not many students respond. Ms.Moses feels that if they were able to get more of the student body to express their wants and needs, then they would have more direction on how to reach every single student. 


  She wants students to feel like they are doing things with purpose and intention and that PPCHS truly does care about the mental health of students.