A safe place

The mental health room is there to help students, but there are still things that need to be done.


Zoe Barnett

Coping skills are provided in the mental health room for students to access.

One in five teenagers suffer from a mental illness, and according to Teen Mental Health. That’s 20% of our population. Teenagers experience a wide variety of mental disorders, ranging from ADHD, to anxiety, to depression and other mental disorders. 

Inside the walls of classrooms, there is little to no room for mental health care, and teachers tend to play a big role in this. “There can always be more education for counselors and teachers on how to support mental health,” Krystal Toderick, school counselor, said. “And then also how to teach kids about mental health.” 

Recently there has been more talk about mental health and what actions to take to help students. During the middle of last year, the counseling team came up with the idea of the mental health room. It was an overall team effort, but it was Tracey Riddle and Michelle Bloom who helped make it happen.

“We were all trying to find places for students to go if they needed space,” Toderick said. “And more and more we realized we needed a designated space that people knew about, that they could access, even if they didn’t connect with their counselor first.” 

The mental health room consists of fidget toys, bean bags and lists of coping skills. 

The only source of advertisement for the mental health room is word by mouth. But there are other ways to get students who are struggling, help. “If you see someone who is upset, walk them down there so that more students know that it’s a space that you can use at any point,” Toderick said.

Throughout the school day, students  that are suffering either skip class or they tough it out  so they can stay in class because education always comes first. That is why the mental health room was put into place, to give a healthy option.

“As counselors, we recognize that kids are working through some mental health stuff and are stressed, experiencing some things, and that they need a space to do that,” Toderick said. “Our job is for students to know that we are trying to respond to what we’re hearing, which is a lot of mental health worries or just concerns.”

It is not a secret that high schoolers are dealing with heavy stuff nowadays, but the most important thing to hold onto is that you are not alone. Everyone is going through something. “I want people to feel like it’s okay if you’re struggling with depression or suicide, there’s nothing wrong with you, we’re just wanting you to not feel alone,” Toderick said. “And as best, we can find someone, if it’s anyone that you connect with, so that we can start getting help.”