Students’ mental health at DVC is a priority, especially anxiety and depression, among many DVC staff. Many do their best to help their students, but there are still more ways staff can help.
In a study done by the CDC, it explains that 7.1% of children ages 3-17 have been diagnosed with anxiety. Even though this percentage looks small, that is approximately 4.5 million children. When it comes to depression, 3.2% of children have been diagnosed with depression, which is around 1.9 million children. With this data, we can see that there are children who are diagnosed, but there are still millions of children who aren’t.
In a survey from the New York Times, researchers found that 70% of American teens believe that anxiety and depression are the largest issues for their peers. This is about the same for DVC students, who have a wide variety of causes for their anxiety and depression. Junior Xochitl Gatson talked about the reasons for her anxiety and depression, explaining what some of her causes were.
“School carries a lot of stress with the general workload and sometimes uncaring teachers,” Gatson said.
When talking to some of the DVC students, they all discussed how a large amount of their stress leads to anxiety and depression. When asking if DVC helps overcome or maintain their students’ mental well-being, there were different perspectives. Junior Maliyah Crowe explained her experience with DVC helping with anxiety and depression.
“A lot of stress comes from DVC’s whole idea of project-based learning where they assign projects all at the same time,” Crowe said.
Students had mixed emotions when it came to this question of whether or not they believe DVC staff help students with their mental well-being. DVC is a very open school and staff tries to get students involved in as many activities as possible. DVC tries to make the school an open space for students which is what an anonymous sophomore explained.
“They have excellent ways of dealing with it because they know that it is present all the time in the school. They have guidance counselors, and work to discuss it sometimes in Advisory,” said the Anonymous Sophomore.
From a teacher’s perspective, most do the best that they can in order to help their students. Chemistry teacher Janee Gerard explains what teachers have been doing to help students. She discusses that teachers are trying to find ways to incorporate organizational skills within the class. This is one of the ways teachers believe students can reduce some of their stress.
“Just having both curriculums, so social-emotional support, mindfulness type stuff, all sorts of different support that we’re actually building out lessons and resources for that right now,” Gerard said.
She also discussed ways that staff can be unhelpful towards their students in regards to their mental health.
“It’s weird to me, if it’s not for your students and relationships and caring for them as a whole person, it’s not just your content,” Gerard said.
This was very similar to what World History teacher Dani Guerrero explained. She discussed the vulnerability teachers need to have in order to connect with students. In her eyes, this is the best way students can open up to DVC Staff.
“I think being honest about when we as adults are struggling, and not just female teachers, but male teachers too. I think that’s a powerful thing,” Guerrero said. “So that, you know, as students that it’s okay to also let people know when you’re struggling.”
Talking with both staff and students, many agreed about ways to help and support students. DVC needs more, in all aspects, to help students. DVC isn’t doing the bare minimum, but there are always more ways to help students deal with anxiety and depression. Senior Joselyn Gallagher discusses what she believes DVC needs.
“Maybe having a full or part-time emotional counselor on campus,” Gallagher said. “I love the intern therapists the school provides, but it can be difficult to wait to see them since there are many emotional events that can happen during school.”
DVC has a small team of counselors and only one therapist that works with other DVC schools. Students want more certified therapists to be there and support them. DVC needs to understand and students know that there are people here for them, and staff that will help you. No matter how large or small a student’s obstacle is.
“Believe in yourself and all that you are. Know that there is something inside of you that is greater than any obstacle..,” said American author Christian Larson.