This year, Mount Si officially has full-time mental health counselors on staff: Sloan Westerman and Ashley Levian.
Instead of one counselor working 40 hours a week, the two counselors split a work week. Each work around three days a week, with Westerman working at the main campus and Levian at the freshman campus.
So, how are these counselors different from your average counselor?
“School counselors get a different training than mental health counselors do, and we’re primarily trained in what they called ‘solution focused brief.’ Our training is designed to work with kids for 6-8 weeks, and the focus is so they can be successful academically; whether they’re having social/emotional issues, [our assistance is] still surrounding academics,” counselor Rachel Raff said. “On the flip side, the mental health counselors can see a student for a longer period of time, and they’re trained to deal with issues like depression that we don’t have extensive training on.”
Some students take a more optimistic approach in regards to a full-time mental health counselor.
“I know some students who could really use one but can’t afford to go see a counselor or therapist outside of school and this could be a good solution for that,” Gage White said.
Other students expressed the need for many teens to have a trusted adult to talk to to help them navigate the stresses of teenage years.
“Yeah, It’s super important, everyone should have one in my opinion. There’s a lot of emotional distress associated with this age for everyone. Kids need adults,” Tristan Roark said.
The process for setting up an appointment with the mental-health counselors is straightforward–all students have to do is go into the counseling office and make a request.
“Just ask,” Raff said.