The Student News Site of Van Nuys High School

The Mirror

The student website of Van Nuys High School
Van Nuys, California
The Student News Site of Van Nuys High School

The Mirror

The Student News Site of Van Nuys High School

The Mirror

Mental health has historically been a difficult topic of discussion, but LAUSD has been partnering with its schools to bring more mental health awareness and support to its students and staff.

According to one of the school’s Psychiatric Social Workers (PSW), Ms. Karina Lares, the district has been providing the school with assemblies that give students important information on topics such as mental health.

“This school year, there have been multiple assemblies such as the suicide prevention assembly and violence prevention assembly,” Ms. Lares said. “These assemblies are put together by the district and led by the administrators to bring awareness of certain topics to students.”

These assemblies are a part of the Every School Safe: a Blueprint for Safety, a new plan that the district has implemented for the 2023-26 school years to improve the safety and well-being of students.

One of the sections under this blueprint is labeled Student Health and Wellness, which includes plans to help students with their mental and physical health. Under this section, LAUSD has stated that there are now hundreds of PSWs and 19 mental health clinics across the district, as well as a Mental Health Evaluation Team that all LAUSD members have access to.

Outside of what has been stated in the blueprint, there are also other resources available on the LAUSD website.

With these added resources, LAUSD students now have access to a wide array of information and help when it comes to dealing with their mental health.

Ms. Lares stated that this resource increase is crucial to helping students find better ways to deal with their mental well-being.

“In the current climate that we live in, there are a lot of stressors for students, so I feel that it is important to have that awareness and support,” Ms. Lares said.

While LAUSD has taken steps to support students’ mental well-being, mental health has not always been openly discussed in schools.

“When I was in school there was not really any discussion of mental health and it was a really high need in the school I attended,” PSW Ms. Katherine Stockly said. “That is one of the reasons I wanted to work in a school because I think it is important to have these conversations with students.”

Ms. Lares shared that she had a similar experience throughout her school life.

“I attended an LAUSD school from elementary to high school and I don’t remember having conversations around mental health or having things like PSWs or support counselors,” she said.

The lack of discussion on mental health only builds the stigma that already surrounds the topic.

“One of the biggest barriers to getting mental health support is the stigma around it, the more we talk about it the more people will feel comfortable getting mental health support,” Ms. Lares explained.

LAUSD is now taking the initiative to break this stigma that surrounds mental health, which makes Ms. Lares extremely happy.

“Knowing that there now is this level of support makes me feel whole, but there is always a need for more,” Ms. Lares said.

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