Wellness Center

Amish Jha, Staff Writer

The mental health of students has never been more crucial than in today’s world. As the pressures and anxieties faced by students continue to mount, schools are increasingly recognizing the need for comprehensive support systems. Arcadia High School (AHS) took a bold step in addressing this imperative by launching the groundbreaking Wellness Center on the first day of the 2021-2022 school year. That was the first year we were completely back post lockdown, so the timing was essentially perfect. Everyone had just spent more than a year at home, and had many insecurities and concerns about coming back to school. It has now been almost two years since the inception of the Wellness Center, and it is still going incredibly strong. The Wellness Center provides a space for students to go to when they’re feeling overwhelmed or low and is accompanied by many comforting activities. 

“The idea of the Wellness Center originated from the needs of our students, and this need was seen by our counseling office as well as our principal, Dr. Angie Dillman. The idea of the center was in the planning phase prior to the pandemic; however, we had to shift once our school shut down three years ago at the beginning of COVID. We initially launched the wellness center virtually and transitioned to a physical space when students returned to campus,” stated Dr. Deja Anderson, the Wellness counselor at AHS who oversees the Wellness Center. She believes the center has been successful in its first two years. 

“I feel that the last two years have gone well. Students will access the space during school hours, when they’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed. The space is also open before school, during lunch and 15-20 mins after school. During non-class hours (before, after and lunch) students can come to the center and hang out. If it is during class time, it needs to be for a reason. Lastly, we host fun activities – coloring, painting, origami-which allows students to decompress in a fun way. I feel our students have been very receptive to the service and appreciate that this is available for them on campus,” said Dr. Anderson.

To access the center during lunch, before school, or after school, students can walk into the counselor’s office and request to go into the Wellness Center. They will be guided to the designated space and where they can then sign in. However, if students wish to access the center during class, they must obtain a pass from their respective teachers. These passes can be found in every classroom. Once students have acquired a pass, they can proceed to the Wellness Center and complete the sign-in process.  At the center, there are puzzles, fidget toys, couches, phone chargers, bean bags, and other relaxing things to destress.

The center and its comforting vibe is dedicated to providing students with a genuine mental break, aimed at improving their overall well-being. Any student feeling stressed, anxious, or sad can visit the space and take a break from it all, allowing themselves the necessary time to ponder about it all. This focus on wellness has helped the center grow and become popular amongst AHS students. 

“Whenever I feel stressed or overwhelmed in class due to various reasons, I can always walk over to the Wellness Center and calm myself down. I think it is so important that this is available to all students” said senior Samuel Ledesma.

Dr. Anderson also thinks the success is clear.

“We have seen a growth in students either accessing the wellness center or scheduling 1:1 check-ins with me. Additionally, I have had more school based organizations reach out and want to partner hosting wellness events. I survey students each year and take their feedback into consideration as we continue to move forward with our program,” said Dr. Anderson.

Email Dr. Anderson at [email protected] for additional questions on the wellness program or for 1:1 private check ins with Dr. Anderson. Many students who use the Wellness Center also utilize one on one talks with Dr. Anderson, which greatly helps them talk about their problems in a safe space.

We hope the Wellness Center achieves and helps students for an indefinite period of time at AHS!


Photo by Annie Jiang