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New mental health wellness center opens at Lompoc High School

Posted at 9:40 PM, Nov 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-16 02:56:42-05

Lompoc High students have a new place to turn to for help with stress and other life issues.

Students and staff celebrated the grand opening of a new wellness center at Lompoc High School on Tuesday.

The center is meant to give students a place to unwind while raising awareness about mental health.

It isn’t your typical school counselor's office, and it’s more than just a Zen room.

The new wellness center aims to help students destress, talk about issues, and get through school.

“I just think the world we live in has created more angst and anxiety among kids,” said Lompoc High School Principal Celeste Pico.

The center is staffed with counselors focused solely on mental health as well as social and emotional well-being.

“We do social and emotional learning classroom lessons in there. There’s a lot of good stuff going on designed to just relax and a safe space for kids to be calm and just be accepted for who they are,” said school counselor Carla Montes.

The center offers one-on-one counseling as well as group lessons on anxiety, stress, and anger management-- as well as self-esteem and much more.

“The topic of anxiety and stress management compared to the rest of the groups is the most popular. We have the most students in those groups which shows we have a lot of anxious kids, a lot of stressed-out kids,” said Montes.

Administration officials say students are learning skills that will help them well into adulthood.

“They’re learning coping skills. If you come in this room, you’re gonna see there are corners where they can paint, there are places where they can just sit and draw,” said Pico.

Counselors on hand say they wish they had resources like this when they were in high school.

“When I was in high school, my anxiety was so bad, but I struggled with it silently,” said Montes. “I think it’s amazing because I grew up in this district too and I would have loved something like this growing up, I think it’s so needed.”

The principal of Lompoc High School says issues surrounding mental health are nothing new--they’re just now being talked about.

“I think it has always been there, it just hasn’t been on the forefront and now, we’re recognizing that need,” she said.

There are two counselors specifically assigned to the wellness center.