By Amelia Kimberling
For many the holidays create a sense of joy: presents waiting to be opened, warm cookies to enjoy for months on end, and family gatherings that can create long-lasting memories. However, for others it can be a time of struggle. Paula Lau, a counselor at JHS, informed me of what actions her and Robin Mayo and Marilyn Heinrichs, fellow counselors, are taking to give hope to struggling students and staff members.
Lau begins by stating how, “[Her and fellow counselors] talked about the fact that during the holidays it can get very difficult for students… staff members too.”
A good percentage of kids come from troubled homes and backgrounds. The ideal family gathering can quickly turn sour with arguing adults. Plus with more alcohol around, adults and kids are susceptible to substance abuse. This can spiral and lead to dire consequences.
Lau states, “Unfortunately, [during the holidays], suicide tends to go up.”
Lau, Mayo, and Heinrichs took quick action in providing resources before the holidays kicked into gear.
Lau describes that “[they] wanted something that was to be part of the school… on display.”
All around the Media Center, FA, and Alternative Center posters and banners line the walls. They cover a variety of topics such as what depression and anxiety are, suicide hotlines, apps for managing self-care, and celebrity experiences with mental health to help students feel more connected.
There were even resources for struggling LGBTQ+ students. One resource was the organization Oklahomans for Equality (OKEQ) that uses education, programs, alliances, and more to seek more individual rights for LGBTQ+ individuals. The closest operation can be found at 621 E. 4th Street, Tulsa, OK and can be reached with the number (918) 743-4297.
One of the many signs in the library. Lau says this is a way to remind students that “there are people available to talk if you are struggling.” The signs will come down before Thanksgiving break.
Finally, I got to visit some furry friends during lunch on Friday (November 15). These pups are trained therapy dogs who have learned how to comfort their human companions if feeling down. Tanya Morgan, their owner, informed me that their names are Percy and Einstein. Don’t worry if you missed them this past Friday because they will return November the 22nd for more aid.