SAS students visit their new Wellness Centre during an open house ahead of its April 5 opening at the Sullivan Campus. Students are able to visit the Wellness Centre for weekly walk-in clinics, one-on-one counselling, mental health supports and other services provided by community partners. (Observer file photo)

Salmon Arm Secondary’s Wellness Centre helping youth

Success stories shared at monthly school board meeting

Salmon Arm Secondary’s Wellness Centre, located at the Sullivan campus, is an initiative that has been long in the works. After finally becoming available for students after a soft-launch April 5, which saw more than 200 students attend, the feedback about the centre and the results produced have been overwhelmingly positive.

The Wellness Centre at SAS is the first of its kind in the region, and among the first in B.C., modelled around similar programs in Nanaimo and Maple Ridge. Monica Kriese, coordinator of the Wellness Centre, and Dr. Richard Currie, who has clinical hours at the centre weekly, attended the June 19 North Okanagan-Shuswap School Board meeting to talk about the progress so far, including statistics on usage and student feedback about the supports offered.

Of the initial launch, Kriese says “it was so full and buzzing, it was awesome. It was two years ago that we proposed this idea to our local action team, we worked long and hard and are really pleased about what it brought about.”

Related: Wellness Centre in works for Salmon Arm Secondary

Currie spoke at the board meeting about the medical encounters he has been seeing in his weekly clinical hours at the Wellness Centre, reinforcing the idea that mental health supports are the most in-demand services for youth accessing the clinic.

“We expected when we started there was a large need in mental health, and that bringing these services to kids would be most effective, but nobody anticipated what actually happened, it has been a little overwhelming,” Kriese says. “We have two to three students per week with significant issues coming to the clinic and I am impressed by community partners stepping up to help.”

Related: Salmon Arm Secondary unveils Wellness Centre

Currie also notes that a common opinion in the community is that schools should have been doing this years ago, saying “there are days when I leave the clinic and that comment haunts me because the need is huge.”

Kriese noted that the services most accessed by were mental health supports and counselling, also being the number one service students were hoping to see in this Wellness Centre.

Other services students have reported they wish to access include sexual education and support, STI testing, drug education, general counselling and a safe space or support centre for LGBTQ students.

The current programming of the Wellness Centre includes sexual health info on Tuesdays, visits from a public health nurse Wednesdays, a walk-in medical clinic with Currie and open counselling sessions Thursdays, and weekly talks about healthy relationships and consent with the SAFE Society on Fridays.

Kriese says in the last two weeks the number of students coming to the Wellness Centre has doubled after they created a more private space for discussions surrounding sexual health. She also notes requests for birth control have also increased.

“Some people don’t like hearing that,” Kriese says, “but to us we are prepared to help and ensure young people are being safe and aren’t having a child at this point.”

Of the Wellness Centre, board trustee Mike McKay remarked: “There are kids for whom this is a safe harbour; it’s not just a safe protective place but a place to grow, engage and connect. It truly does save lives, it is remarkable work… People are expecting excellence, but excellence doesn’t just mean the high flyers continue to fly, it means that everybody gets the support they need to get ahead.”


 

@Jodi_Brak117
jodi.brak@saobserver.net

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Revelstoke get’s out to vote

City of Revelstoke say roughly 300 people voted this morning

Missing: Elderly woman in Revelstoke

The missing female is Alice Lines, a long-time resident of Revelstoke. She was last seen at 8 pm Friday night when she left her home.

Voting Day: Here’s what you need to know

Voting stations are open until 8 p.m.

Kids have fun at the Mountain Harvest Festival

The Begbie View Elementary School gym was packed Friday night with Halloween activities

VIDEO TOUR: Eagle Pass Lodge recognized at Thompson Okanagan Kootenay Commercial Building Awards

Eagle Pass Heli Skiing’s lodge is located south of Revelstoke on Highway 23

Tommy Chong says cannabis legalization makes him proud to be a Canadian

Legendary marijuana advocate and comedian celebrates cultural milestone at Kelowna event

B.C. passenger caught smoking weed in a car issued $230 fine

Saanich police did a field sobriety test on the driver and deemed it safe for him to drive

Payette invites critics to ‘come and spend a few days’ with her

Governor General Julie Payette made her first official to B.C. back in March

More pot stores expected in B.C. in coming ‘weeks and months’: attorney general

Attorney General David Eby and Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth visited the new BC Cannabis Store in the province’s Interior

Telus launches charitable foundation to help vulnerable youth

The Telus Friendly Future Foundation complements other social initiatives by the company, including Mobility for Good

Police say suspicious death of B.C. artist ruled a homicide

Patrick Zube Aylward’s body was found in a residence on a rural road outside of Seton Portage, west of Lillooet, B.C.

Temporary roads being built in areas affected by landslide in northern B.C.

Emergency Management BC news release says Disaster Financial Assistance is available to eligible residents of the Peace River Regional District who may have been affected by the landslides

B.C. tickets win big in Lotto Max draw

Jackpot carried over; B.C. tickets share Max Millions prizes

Most Read