Wellness Committee reinstated


Photo courtsey of Sources of Strength

Students sign up to be members of Sources of Strength. This has been their most successful year with over 90 active members. The Wellness Committee is expected to hit the same number of members.

This school year, after years of inactivity, a revamped Wellness Committee has been reintroduced for an alliance of students, staff, and teachers of WJ to establish a more conscientious atmosphere for students struggling with their mental health.

Head Resource Counselor, Lisa Sorenson is anticipating new student-lead initiatives to reduce stress and provide support for students in the building.

“As counselors we are all talking about ways to help students deal with some of the challenging that they have,” Sorenson said. “There is a lot of programming going on throughout the course of the year that is focused on wellness and helping students.”

Alongside Sources of Strength, a popular mental health awareness club among students, the WJ community has plans this year to change the stigma surrounding mental health and initiate more conversations to prioritize students mental wellness.

Seniors Maya Falb and Noam Yanay are the presidents of Sources of Strength, and they have been working with Principal Jennifer Baker to spearhead the efforts of creating an open community so students can feel safe to ask for help.

“Recognizing that it’s okay to take a mental health day, and putting your mental health above school work should be normal, and even encouraged. One of the only ways to succeed in school or in life is to take care of yourself,” Falb said.

New clubs, such as the Self Care Club or Sit with Us are other outlets students can get involved in to find support in the WJ community.

“Although staff member care in general about the students and are very understanding to physical health and well being, they still struggle to sometimes grasp the idea of mental health and that’s something that  can really affect a student’s learning,” Yanay said.

Students and staff want to be more aware of each individual’s struggles and setbacks, hoping that if a conversation is opened about mental health awareness, students will have more strategies for coping with their frustrations and personal obstacles.

MCPS marked October as Mental Health Awareness Month, and county representatives are holding a Mental Health Fair on Saturday, Oct. 27 at Julius West Middle School.

“There are a lot of things that WJ students do and want to do that support our school and our building in making sure students feel safe and protected,” Sorenson said.

Amidst the current state of WJ, in reaction to a shocking and fearful development with a former student (see page 1), students have different reactions and ways of coping.

“We should feel comfortable talking about why we feel stressed or nervous at school,” Falb said. “Going home because you feel anxious should be treated the exact same way as if it’s for a headache.”

There are a lot of new initiatives in the works that are expected to play out this year to make WJ a more open and accepting community for the student body’s needs and challenges.