by Photo courtesy of the Sweetwater Union High School District

The Sweetwater Union High School District hosted an open house for the first Wellbeing Center earlier this month to provide resources, support, and classes for students and staff. 

Spearheaded by the Suicide Prevention and Well-being Coordinator Dr. Margaret A. Sedor, her team partnered with VEBA and community partners will provide resources, support, and classes surrounding healthy lifestyle and well-being. The center is located next to the district office on 5th Avenue and plans to focus on five areas as the mind, body, movement, flexibility, healthy eating, and lifestyle. 

“As a district, we are committed to health promotion efforts to support the well-being of our students and staff by creating a systemic well-being framework,” Dr. Sedor said in a statement. “The well-being of educators influences the well-being of our students. That’s why this is so important.”

The center will offer lessons to target the five areas. Lessons on mindfulness, yoga, Meditation will be provided for the mind and body; exercise, strength training, low back care for movement and flexibility; Gardening, meal planning, and prep cooking classes for healthy eating. The center will also offer lifestyle coaching, grief loss, and improving sleep for lifestyle. 

Sedor and her team received responses from staff regarding areas of interest, which resulted in two courses being offered in January; high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and Meditation. 

In addition, four school sites have volunteered to serve as pilot well-being sites; Chula Vista Middle School, Eastlake Middle School, Olympian High School, and Montgomery High School. Along with site teams, Dr. Sedor and her team foster a well-being system through wellness planning, mental health training, “Mental Health First Aid,” gardening, and more. 

In November, the SUHSD discussed two mental health services during a Nov.8 meeting to further support students who underwent months of pandemic-induced social isolation. The South Bay Community Services (SBCS) collaborated with the SUHSD for their After School Safety and Enrichment for Teens (ASSETs) program to reflect additional support services from an added funding stream to supplement the program.

An amendment to the Agreement with SBCS cites increased behavioral and psychological issues on campuses that stem from various causes, including a recent lack of socialization, family and housing instability, and attendance stability due directly to COVID and the contact tracing that stems from the virus. 

Additionally, the board of education approved a memorandum of understanding with Wellness Together inc, a nonprofit organization that partners with schools statewide to access mental health services for students and families. 

 According to the district’s Chief of Educational Equity and Support Services Dr. Vernon Moore, this contract has been in place for several years. Wellness Together, Inc. provides mental health intervention services at no cost to the district. Mental health specialists will provide up to 24 hours of service at their designated school site.

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