Students unaware of mental health resources despite administrative attempts


Angela Nie

Over the past two years, Newton North has worked to support students through unprecedented times. But despite students struggling to find them, North offers a variety of resources to aid students struggling with their mental health.

“I know there are resources out there, I just don’t know how I can access them,” said sophomore Audrey Wong.  

According to counseling department head Beth Swederskas, the counseling departments’ ineffective communication with students is causing the lack of awareness. “As a counseling department, we reach out to students, post things on Schoology, and send emails. I think there’s an overload of information and many students are saying “‘I can’t read everything.’”

North does offer several support options. Students struggling with mental health have access to school counselors, social workers, and school psychologists. These counselors also offer support groups and seminars available to any student. Prevention and intervention social worker Alison Malkin is currently hosting a class teaching sleep strategies during WIN 2 and stress management workshops every Thursday before school. 

Teachers are also eager to help students navigate their mental health issues. “If there were resources we were supposed to give to kids, we would absolutely give them,” said history teacher Emily Lewis. 

According to Swederskas, in order to figure out the best way to share information, the counseling department will gather students’ opinions in the support groups and seminars. 

Currently, North offers online resources for students hesitant to meet in person, according to school counselor Jolleen Filio. “On the Newton North website, there is a list of resources leading to hotlines, chatlines, and websites that students can access to find information,” she said. 

Work is being done to spread the word so that more students are informed about mental health support. 

Some students and teachers are taking action by working to spread information about mental health resources. Health and wellness teacher Lauren Baugher worked with the Mental Health club to hang posters around the school with a QR code leading to a resource guide that offers links to a variety of websites and hotlines. 

“Our goal with making the resource guide was to provide a lot of the help that we found missing from our experiences at the school,” said senior Maggie Condon, a club officer. She added that the resources cover various topics useful to teens ranging from insurance coverage to addiction support. 

The school will also hold two events giving students access to mental health support. During all three lunch blocks on Wednesday, April 6, the Just Think expo will share information on how to stay safe and healthy. Families for Depression Awareness will also provide guidance during WIN 3, Friday, April 8.