Anxiety, depression among student priorities for Sicamous school wellness centre

Initiative provides comfortable space to care for students at Eagle River Secondary

Since opening in early January, Eagle River Secondary’s Wellness Centre has been a welcome addition for students in need of help working out some of the challenges of being in high school.

Monica Kriese, who co-ordinates the centres at ERS and the Sullivan Campus of Salmon Arm Secondary, said the Eagle River’s is in the process of fine tuning the services offered to suit what the students want.

When the Wellness Centre first opened, Kriese said students were asked what kind of resources they would benefit from. She said the highest priority among the students was assistance dealing with depression, followed by help with anxiety.

Kriese said it was encouraging to see students recognizing things that make them feel anxious and hopes they will seek help with developing coping mechanisms at the Wellness Centre.

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Other assistance requested by students included help dealing with peer pressure, managing conflict and learning to say no and set healthy boundaries both with friends and family.

Kriese said input from students was important at ERS centre, as well as Salmon Arm Secondary’s which has been running since 2018.

Atmosphere is important for providing the kind of services offered by the Wellness Centre. Kriese said students requested soft furniture, blankets and calming lighting in order to make the centre feel like a space apart from the rest of the school. The wellness centre operates on a very tight budget that is reliant on fundraising, and Kriese said they are seeking donations from the public in order to make the Sicamous centre more inviting.

The centre needs plastic carts with four or five drawers, a small one- or two-drawer file cabinet that locks and one tall bar stool. They also require plastic bean bag furniture, folding tables, lamps and soft, fleece blankets.

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Kriese said fundraisers might be on the horizon to bring more specialized programs. She said some possible programs and workshops would be well suited to running after normal school hours, but she said rides home for students after the buses stop running are a barrier that would have to be overcome.

In the meantime, the wellness centre will continue to host regular visits from a doctor, and representatives from the SAFE society and the Eagle Valley Community Support Society.

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