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Santa Barbara Unified School District normalizes mental health on high school campuses

SANTA BARBARA COUNTY, Calif. – The Santa Barbara Unified School District wants to provide a safe place for students and their staff when discussing mental health.

With more young people reporting mental health issues, the district is looking at wellness from a comprehensive perspective.

Anastasia Li is not only a student at Dos Pueblos High School, but also a student board member for the Santa Barbara Unified School District.

By being part of this, she is helping shape the way the district handles mental health issues.

"I think mental health has been talked about a lot because it's something that every student has experienced and especially in recent years. I feel like students are starting to get more academic stress and deal with burnout more," said Anastasia.

The initiative is to establish wellness centers in every school across the district.

Assistant Superintendent of Student and Family Services, Shakenya Edison said, "When we say wellness or safety, we're talking physical, mental, emotional and social safety and wellness. So we are looking at how every adult in our system contributes to the wellness and safety of students."

San Marcos and Dos Pueblos High School are just the first few, as they revamp their current wellness centers.

For San Marcos High School, the school has two projects in the works. The first is the renovation of the entire wellness center, including changing its location on campus. The other project is a five year strategic plan for the future of the school's Health Careers Academy. This would allow opportunities for students to help others.

As for the next stage, it's continuing to create a safe place in the wellness center for students at other high school campuses and normalizing conversations around mental health.

Anastasia told us what her goal would be in all of this as a student: "I feel like I want students to feel empowered on their own to go and seek out help. I want students to feel comfortable and like it's not a sign of weakness to go seek help.”

Article Topic Follows: Be Mindful
Be Mindful
dos pueblos high school
high school
mental health
san marcos
Wellness Center

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Ivania Montes


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