In an effort to respond to the increasing mental, emotional and physical health needs of the student body, parents and faculty, the Morgan Hill Unified School District has opened new Wellness Centers at four of its campuses.
The wellness centers are open at Britton Middle School, Martin Murphy Middle School, Ann Sobrato High School and Live Oak High School. The centers and counselors will serve students, families and staff at all 13 MHUSD schools, as well as the Community Adult School, according to MHUSD staff.
The district opened the wellness centers on the belief that “social-emotional learning is key to academic success” and the importance of supporting the “whole child” in education, says a press release from MHUSD. The district’s goal is to provide tools to improve mental health, build positive relationships with peers and adults, encourage confidence and kindness, and support healthier lifestyles in a “safe, inviting and nurturing space.”
The wellness centers are equipped with comfortable chairs, inviting colors, calm zones and sensory objects to create an atmosphere where people can feel comfortable to relax and receive counseling support, according to MHUSD staff.
Similar wellness centers have been established in public school districts throughout the region since students began returning to in-person learning after the Covid-19 pandemic started. Mental health professionals have been concerned about the impact of the pandemic on young people who may have lost loved ones or become isolated from their classmates and family members.
“Now, more than ever, attention needs to be given to social emotional health,” MHUSD Superintendent Dr. Carmen Garcia said. “With all of the pain and loss many students have experienced over the last year and half, whether it be from the pandemic, personal or other tragedies they are inundated with on the news and social media, these events can be difficult to process for anyone. In our efforts to educate every student and support them to be the best version of themselves, we are providing access to resources that are essential to well-being. This support extends to their families and the teachers and staff who teach them daily.”
Each MHUSD wellness center has a “Student Voices” group with oversight from teachers, counselors and district administration, the press release says. Student Voices is designed to be a safe and open place for students to share their needs, concerns and support they feel is needed at their school.
“Through Student Voices, MHUSD commits to continuous improvement with equitable practices, relationship building and student and family sense of belonging,” says the press release from MHUSD.
Students are invited to visit the wellness centers during the day at school sites that host such centers. Parents, families and staff are invited to make appointments for counseling at any of the four wellness centers.
Counselors at each of the MHUSD wellness centers will provide monthly two-hour workshops for all MHUSD families and staff, on Saturdays from 9:30-11:30am. Furthermore, all students, parents and staff have access to a referral link for counseling on the MHUSD website, mhusd.org.
The hours and location of all four wellness centers is also posted on the district’s website.