Face-to-Face: Is the Wellness Center useful or ineffective?

Face-to-Face is a feature that allows two members of the Redwood Community to grill each other, argue, or simply converse about a relevant issue or event. We provide the topic, and they do the rest. This month’s participants are Senior and Peer Resource student Carli Jacks and Junior Ben Gold-Matejka. They discuss Peer Resource and the Wellness Center, specifically whether these services are worth the funds or not.

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Is the Wellness Center as a whole a useful part of Redwood?

Carli Jacks: I think they’re a great addition to school campus. Families that can’t afford mental health assistance have a safe space to turn to on campus that also provides other wellbeings not only mentally but physically.

Ben Gold-Matejka: I believe that it’s more the parent’s responsibility. It really highlights the issue of the death of traditional American family values in places like Marin, where students are getting distanced from their parents, thus creating these problems and having the school take the responsibility that they have.

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CJ: I agree that it’s very important for parents to be involved with students’ lives, but for the majority of kids that I’ve helped and worked with, there have

been parental issues. We just want to be a baseline. In most of those cases, we like to talk about, “Have you talked to your parents, can you talk to your parents,” and if they’re not comfortable with that, we try to lay the steps so that they [are].

BGM: I think Peer Resource is a great thing, as a class it’s great, but I feel like it could be an extension, like you took psychology, you really enjoy it, how about

you do Peer Resource and put that into action. But I feel that the district shouldn’t be diverting so many of the school’s funds to the Wellness Center, when really the only thing they’re helping is getting someone tea or  a snack.

Could the academic counselors deal with emotional issues, or do we need specialized counselors?

BGM: I feel comfortable talking to my counselor if I have a problem with a teacher or  even a parent, God forbid, but I feel like the counselors are suited to talk to students.

CJ: Although [the counselors] can deal with certain issues, some of the things that kids have going on are on a much deeper level and I think that having a trained specialist there is an extreme benefit.

Does the Wellness Center provide something that parents can’t provide?

CJ: It depends on someone’s financial situation, because therapists are very expensive, especially in Marin, and having this as a free option is very helpful for those parents.

BGM: I feel like that’s a job for the nurse. I don’t feel like we need a whole Wellness Center. With things like suicide, I feel like if someone is cutting themselves, or is anorexic or bulimic, the

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parents should really take the hint. I mean if they see scars on daughter’s or son’s arms or if they think their daughter is getting too thin, I think they should have the responsibility to speak up and say, ‘Hey, you know, I don’t think that’s right, we have to talk about this,’ because I feel like that’s the issue, the death of American family values where parents are afraid to confront their kids about these issues that are life-threatening.

CJ: I completely agree that I would really like for the parents to be able to speak up, and for the kids to be able to speak to their parents about anything that they want, but we want to have [another] option in case they don’t.

Is it okay to skip class for Wellness Center?

BGM: I know I sound old fashioned but I think a school’s a place for academics, sports, and some extracurriculars like drama, music and things like that. I don’t really believe it’s the school’s responsibility and the government’s responsibility for this welfare system especially in the school. With this whole welfare system, how do you know a kid’s not going to go down to the Wellness Center just to get out of class? Of course teachers won’t say no because they could be risking their student’s life, so they have to let them go. At Redwood, people are definitely going to try to take advantage of that. And when do we know when they’re trying to get help, or when they’re just trying to get out of class.

CJ: I think that goes for everything in the world, there’s going to be someone trying to take advantage of something good that’s happening. But you get marked; they take attendance so you can’t just skip class, and at that point if you need something, they have to in a sense verify if what you’re saying is how you’re feeling, in a sense. And of course there’s going to be people who take advantage of it, and that’s probably one of the most unfortunate things.