Photo by Ella Belland

The Peer Helpers banner for students to sign up. Scan the QR code.

The Mental Health Coalition

The Mental Health Coalition was formed at the start of the 2022-2023 school year by students and staff in hopes to create a better future for mental health and success for those attending SAHS. 

The mental health coalition is put together by Peer Helpers, school counselors and teachers. Peer Helpers are provided to students; typically seniors who help other students that are struggling academically, emotionally, or mentally. 

“We have about 4,000 people and about 20 Peer Helpers. Having a discussion is important, it is the first step to acknowledging the crisis,” Social studies teacher Samuel Grimes said.

Covid-19 had a huge impact on students all over the world. Leaving devastating impacts on students’ learning. Students were isolated from family and friends during a lockdown and forced into learning environments that were challenging in new ways affecting students’ mental health and academic scores.

The lockdown lasted more than two grades, altering the students’ experience. The effects of Covid-19 and post-COVID are still being felt across the students and the community today. A May 2022 survey showed that 80% of public schools reported declined behavioral and social developments. 

“Imagine a plane, that’s Covid-19. And you have to land that plane on the ground,” Grimes added. 

I think it’s good that students know they have a place to go or people to talk to.

— Hannah Bell

The mental health coalition allows students and adults to stand up for the student’s needs and propose those needs to the school, based on their data and research. The type of data they report on is not confidential but rather it is data that is very general about the overall issues being observed.

This data includes percentages of common issues in each grade level. The Coalition also reports on areas where there are gaps in mental health and areas students need to improve. This group meets once a month to discuss data collected from Peer Helpers and adults to address current issues within the school. 

“I think it’s good that students know they have a place to go or people to talk to,” sophomore Hannah Bell said. 

The hope of this group is to show students that the school cares and wants to support students in every way possible. Adults at the school actively listen to students to push for a better future. Many schools across the United States have poor access to support that touches up on mental health and academic success.

The school is “doing a good job at helping with mental health,” junior Evyn Peterson added. 

The Coalition believes that prioritizing academic success, support, and mental health advocacy will prepare students to be successful outside of school. If any students have any concerns within themselves or another student. Counselors and other resources such as the mental health coalition are accessible to students.

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