In response to the presidential election, Palo Alto High School’s Wellness Center is offering additional counseling opportunities and is advising teachers on how to support students.
In particular, the Wellness Team has taken initiative in providing help for teachers to discuss the election — especially Social Studies teachers, who often facilitate political conversations in their classes.
“There’s a range of emotions, but we wanted to make sure that teachers have the tools to point their students towards wellness tips and resources to be able to support their students wherever they’re at,” Paly Wellness Outreach Worker Whitney Aquino said.
To gauge the student body’s mental health this semester, the Wellness Center sent out surveys over the course of the past month to assess factors that may negatively impact students’ mental health. According to Aquino, aside from usual sources of stress, the survey also pointed to concerns regarding the election.
“It’s no surprise that this is a stressful time, but it has been really ramped up by this election,” Aquino said. “It was important to us to find a way to address it, and acknowledge and support students to find ways to take care of themselves at this time.”
In an effort to provide that support, the Wellness Center will offer extra counseling services through Zoom drop-in hours Wednesday during Lunch in addition to the usual Tutorial hours. Students may also choose to submit a form requesting to set up an appointment.
“It’s no surprise that this is a stressful time, but it has been really ramped up by this election. It was important to us to find a way to address it, and acknowledge and support students to find ways to take care of themselves at this time.”
— Whitney Aquino, Paly Wellness outreach worker
The Wellness Center recommends finding your calm, unplugging from social media, maintaining a basic care routine, checking in with support systems and empowering yourself among other tips.
“It can be pretty unsettling when we don’t have the answers ready,” Aquino said. “Share your experiences and make sure that you have that plan in place for how you’re going to take care of yourself.”
- Crisis hotline: 1-888-247-7717
- Trevor lifeline for LGBTQ+: 1-866-488-7386
- Crisis text line: Text HELLO to 741741
- Trevor text line: Text START to 678678
- Lifeline chat: https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/chat/