New Wellness Center aims to help students destress

November 25, 2019 — by Harshini Velchamy and Sina Salehi

The quiet commotion of the halls dim as the door to the Wellness Center opens. Water trickles down a small stone fountain as the chaos from the school fades away. The whistle of the kettle of tea crewing overcomes the room as an aura of peace and relaxation sets in.

Stress almost seems to melt away as students step into the new Wellness Center, located within the student center in the 800 wing. The center’s purpose is to provide a place where students can feel heard and decrease their stress. Most who go there are speaking with CASSY counselors about a range of issues.

“We all have stress in our lives and would like to support students to find healthy ways to deal with stress,” Wellness Center coordinator Marina Barnes said.

The Wellness Center, envisioned by the former principal Paul Robinson, was designed to be an environment to not only reduce the stigma around mental health services but to also provide a space for students to momentarily escape a sometimes pressure-filled school setting.

The Wellness Center provides a plethora of tools to not only discover the root causes behind stress but also simple and effective solutions. For example, some activities include using squeezing stress balls, playing with kinetic sand, painting and solving puzzles.

The popularity of the Wellness Center has increased as more students have discovered its benefits. To curb potential misuse of the Wellness Center as a way to skip class, the center permits students to stay for only 20 minutes.

“It’s a convenient place to hang out when you’re tired and just want to relax,” sophomore Kai Doemling said.

Barnes hopes that more students visit the Wellness Center when school seems to be too stressful in order to learn some new skills such as getting in touch with their emotions and finding the root of their stress. 

“We really just want students to get in touch with what’s important for their wellness,” Barnes said. “There are a lot of things that you can try and this is just us providing a place to try them.”

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