New Wellness Center provides emotional support to students in wake of COVID-19


Oct. 19 2021, during lunch Senior Grace Hurguy poses for camera while passing out surveys in exchange for Popsicles for the wellness center with other wellness leaders.

In Feb of 2020 Buena was given a grant that gave Anita Vasquez the opportunity to develop a Wellness Center in order to support students’ mental health, located next to the athletic center, between the football fields and the pool deck. The grant was related to an influx of overwhelmed students who needed help coping with their mental health struggles due to the COVID-19 pandemic and isolation caused by quarantine. 

The Wellness Center offers a variety of resources, including connections to therapists, a clinician, finding and pursuing extracurriculars, games, snacks, and assistance for overcoming substance abuse. All of which are overseen by Vasquez, the official Wellness Center supervisor.

These resources can be accessed through walk-ins or scheduled appointments. Walk-ins are available at lunch and after school Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and during nutrition break Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Walk-ins are best suited for students who have more immediate and easy-to-access needs, such as games, homework help, and more. Whereas, scheduled appointments work best for counseling services for topics such as substance abuse, emotional support, and help guiding through finding and/or juggling extracurriculars.

Vasquez is informing students about services offered through the wellness center through Buena Today and emails about the workshops being done. The most recent workshop that was held concerns building healthy relationships. Every month there is a new workshop theme, so be on the look-out for updates. Next month, for example, is going to be based on self-care and managing stress.

“We’re trying, every month, to have different types of information for students,” Vasquez said. “In case they want additional information, or they want to learn coping skills, or they want to get some resources for those topics.”

You can sign up for these workshops, which take place during BARK, with the sign-up sheet sent by Vasquez before each new theme starts.

If students are open to being more involved in the planning and execution of these workshops, along with other services the wellness center provides, they are looking to involve more student volunteers.

Signs-up require anyone who is a lowerclassmen to attend meetings during BARK, plan workshops, advocate and advertise the activities of the wellness center, and manage the social media. In addition to the experiences listed above upperclassmen will also be involved with training in peer mentoring, conflict resolutions, overseeing lunch activities, and mental health check-ins with students.

“We’re going to be trained on how to handle situations,” senior and member of the Wellness Team Sophie Wilson said. “It isn’t just amateurs who don’t really care about psychology or are doing it for college…[we] want to be psychologists, we want to do this for a living.”