High school can be a rough time. Hormones, relationships, and college pressure culminate to make what is a difficult experience for some. In such a formative time, having someone to confide in is important. According to Journal of Counseling & Development, “students who have access to counseling programs reported being more positive and having greater feelings of belonging and safety in their schools.” Luckily, many schools provide such services. Social workers, counselors, and psychiatrists are often staff at high schools. Everett is no different. The school offers a wide variety of resources that are easily accessible in the counselling office. Unfortunately, not many students are aware that they even exist.
“I really don’t know anything about them,” said senior Amanda Ice.
“The school should really advertise them more,” said senior Asia Williams-Hart.
One of the many underutilized resource staff members at Everett is Holly Triestram.
“My role as one of two school social workers is to provide behavioral and emotional support to students who specifically have an [Individual Educational Plan] and special education services,” Triestram said. She also “provide[s] support to students that are in crisis or need occasional support.” She added that students come to her for a variety of reasons such as a quiet place to take a test, to do work if a classroom is too noisy or chaotic, for behavioral or mental health support, to work on goals for success, or for crisis assistance.
Social workers aren’t the only resource. Even school guidance counselors, such as Erin Falsetta, are available to talk. While her job mostly involves solving scheduling issues for students, she is also there for those need to confide.
“It depends on the severity of the student’s issue, but guidance counselors can also provide support. For those whose issues are more serious, they might be referred somewhere else,” said Falsetta. Another social worker, Kristin Pike, is available for those needing help. Although she usually deals with a specific caseload of students, she is also available to the general student body. She agreed that the school could do a better job of advertising her services.
“I think we are well known by kids sent down for discipline and behavior,” Pike said. “However, for students who need help but have good behavior and don’t show any signs, it’s a little more difficult.” Because of this, many students who need assistance often suffer in silence, not knowing about our many resources.
Yet another resource is Mental Health Specialist Christine Zouaoui, whose office is in the counseling center. Like other social workers, she has a caseload but is also available to help anyone needing to talk.
It’s not just the counselors and social workers who can provide support, though.
“Students should go to any adult in the building if they are struggling or have a friend that is struggling, especially if it is an emergency situation. All adults in this building will find someone for that student to connect with,” said Triestram. If you’re ever feeling really down and don’t know who to go to, consider heading to a teacher you trust, or even seek a counseling staff member.