Wakefield counselors, teachers address mental health issues in teens


Staff Photo by Gaby Sciaudone

Wakefield’s Mindfulness Club spreads awareness to rising mental health issues in teens through this group of posters, which were created during one of their meetings. This club, along with counselors and teachers at Wakefield, are working to spread awareness and help students who may be struggling emotionally.

Gaby Sciaudone, Sports Editor

In the wake of rising mental health concerns in teens, counselors, teachers, coaches and Wakefield’s Mindfulness Club have implemented new ways to help students who are struggling emotionally. 

Juniors Mary Marley and Catherine Marley are the founders and co-presidents of Wakefield’s Mindfulness Club, which strives to bring positivity and mental health awareness to students throughout the school. 

“We wanted to do something for other students to create a way for them to get together to discuss personal growth,” Mary Marley said. 

Historically, mental health has been a taboo subject when it concerns high school students. Catherine Marley believes setting aside time to get acquainted with your feelings is crucial. 

“Mindfulness is such an important thing, and we don’t see enough of it in society,” Catherine Marley said. “Especially in high school, teens are stressed out about college applications, things at home, friends, and stress is high for a lot of people.”

Ninth-grade counselor Melissa Ansbacher also believes that mental health awareness is pivotal for a student’s success. 

“Even if a high school student is not going through something emotionally challenging, chances are they know someone who is,” Ansbacher said. “By bringing awareness [to mental health issues], students can not just help themselves but also help each other.” 

Ansbacher and other counselors at Wakefield High School recognize the importance of helping students with mental health issues and are working diligently to make students feel supported and comfortable at school. 

Even if students don’t always show it, their teacher may be the only person that the student sees that day that asks how they’re doing, and I think sometimes we forget that.

— Ansbacher

“We try to create a positive environment where students can feel like they can come to talk to us if they’re struggling,” Ansbacher said. 

This positive environment is important for student-athletes as well. Courtney Wainio is the men’s and women’s swim coach and has realized that however stressful sports can be, competing and being a part of a team can be very helpful toward improving one’s mental state. 

“Whether it’s an individual sport like swimming or track or a team sport like football or basketball, you learn a lot from yourself and become stronger mentally because of the things you go through in a sport,” Wainio said. 

However, students who do not participate in athletics do not have this outlet to help with their mental struggles, and instead may need help from others, whether a peer, a teacher or a counselor. A simple way to accomplish this is by having teachers at Wakefield High School regularly practice social-emotional learning check-ins. 

“People like being seen,” Ansbacher said. “Even if students don’t always show it, their teacher may be the only person that the student sees that day that asks how they’re doing, and I think sometimes we forget that.”

Practicing mindfulness and continuing to be aware of one’s mental state is crucial toward bettering the general mental health of society, specifically for high school students By addressing this issue, students, counselors, teachers and coaches at Wakefield can be able to assist anyone who may be faced with these challenges.

“Mental health is just as important as your physical health,” Mary Marley said. “The more people that are aware of their mental state, the healthier and happier the world would be.”