Mental Health Help

Vanessa Saavedra-Rodriguez

Hoping to help students cope, Utica Community Schools is providing students with six free sessions of counseling through the Adolescent Outreach Program during the school day to help students during the COVID-19 outbreak.

These six free sessions offer help for students to get the right mental health help they need. These take place on a virtual call whenever a student wants to set up an appointment. This program is run by licensed therapists who work with school counselors.

“I think students should take this opportunity,” Stevenson sophomore Stephanie Perkins said. “I recommend students use the six free sessions to improve their mental health, and to make them feel better about the situations they are in. Teachers should talk about mental health help more and let their students know about the free sessions available.”

Talking issues through can put things in perspective for students not comfortable with current life situations.

“Free sessions are good for students who cannot afford it, or their parents will not let them seek someone for help,” Stevenson junior Sarah Tappo said. “It is always good to have someone to talk to about your problems.”

Virtual students isolated at home may find these sessions beneficial.

“I think that everyone, whether with or without issues, should see a counselor or therapist,” said Utica senior Julia Kavanagh. “During times like these, everyone is learning how to rely on themselves, but it is not always good to put it all on yourself. It is for anyone and everyone, no matter what is going on in their life. Do not let societal pressure keep you from bettering yourself. I recommend students use it if they want. I am in no way forcing anyone’s hand, but rather letting people hear the benefits and deciding whether or not to give it a try.”

Seeking answers to questions can bring clarity.

“I strongly suggest students to see someone for mental health,” Stevenson Algebra I teacher Katrina Dedvukaj said.  “Everyone experiences and process life events differently. Counselors and therapists want to help you. It is their job. They are not there to judge you. They are there to be a safe outlet to express how you authentically feel. As adults who care about our students, it is crucial that we take time, even if it is just posting a mental health resource, to support students’ mental health.”

To set an appointment, call 586-226-3440 and ask to be enrolled in the AOP.