Mental Health at BHS

Some people have bad or stressful days at school, or dread going to school, but people with mental illnesses can often find it difficult to make it through the day.

The main goal of students with these types of problems and their counselors is to get them to school, get them to class, and have them stay in class.

“[At BHS] they give you the strong sense that it’s okay to not be okay, and that’s essential for people who have issues like these,” says Freshman Madeline Bollingmo.

Counselor Christina Cox says that communication with families is key in these types of scenarios. She also suggests for these students to set up therapy outside of school, because the counselling department does not have enough time or professional experience to deal with mental illness one on one.

A primary goal of most counselors is to build trusting relationships with their students so that they feel comfortable talking freely. Counselors can than select personalized coping strategies for students who need to use them. (Ex. slow breathing, counting, “fidgets”, take a break/walk.)

“Think outside the box. If there is a way for you to be here, we can do that,” Cox says.

Most of the time, the most difficult part can be getting these students to school. A lot of these students use avoidant behaviours to continuously prevent themselves from having to go to school. If this becomes an even bigger problem this falls into the category of “truancy”.

When you are truant, the protocol can be lengthy:

1. Parents contact the school and talk to

a. Their counselor

b. Resource officer or principal

2. These authorities then give the student a certain amount of time for them to get to school, or they drive to the student’s home and manually deliver them to the school.

3. The student is then given a pass to class or goes to the counselor to speak to them, and then they would head to class.

“Once it happens to you, you don’t want it to happen again. It’s good motivation for you to make it to school, even if you are having a bad day,” Maddy said, regarding her truancy.

Students with anxiety or stress issues may be given passes, so in case there is a situation where they need to leave the classroom and “Take a Break”, they may do so.

Another student, who was diagnosed with major depression and anxiety while in third grade, takes another approach.

“Reading books saved my life. If I’m in class and not doing well, I’ll pull out a book and read it,” says Freshman Grace Happe.

The protocol for kids who need to take medicine for their mental illness follows the same orders as if they were to take normal medicine.

Overall, BHS makes a safe and comfortable environment for anyone who’s struggling with mental illness, no matter the severity of the disease.

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Chloe Berg

meating tonite @ 420

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