Mental health at Uni has been a problem in the past few years at Uni, and during virtual learning it presents new challenges and opportunities for the SSO. Uni High Counselor Amy Han stated “It’s definitely been hard online, but we’ve also found some new ways to reach out to people.” Some of these ways include the SSO’s podcast and small support groups the SSO has been coordinating. Additionally, they have been giving lectures and discussions during some classes (like P.E.) on different mental health topics, such as stress and anxiety. Another Counselor, Kristi Deedrick said “It [the mental health lectures] has been something we’ve been wanting to do for a long time, but since we’re online teachers have been more willing to give up their time”.
However, it’s no secret that online learning also presents its challenges. With students remote, there aren’t as many opportunities during the day for “natural conversations,” as Ms. Han puts it, and the SSO has a harder time connecting with people. “It’s really hard to meet with people outside of structured time. The SSO is definitely here for crisis situations, but we’re also here to be your friend” said Mrs. Deedrick about the situation.
Students seem to have varying opinions about the effectiveness of the SSO. One freshman, Marco Lu, said that “They’ve [the SSO] had more impact during online school, and have gotten more involved it seems. I don’t really interact with them that much outside of classes though”. Maggie Li, another freshman, put it differently. “A lot of students are stressed because of homework, and the SSO can’t really do much about that, and they can only give advice managing it, which is good, but still sometimes not enough”.
As the weather gets warmer and teachers are allowed to hold in-person activities, the SSO hopes to take advantage of this opportunity by holding some smaller support groups to help out Uni students who might be struggling or who just want to see other people.