District concern for mental wellness brings therapy to schools

By Maddy Leland

Staff Reporter

 

“There’s definitely a stigma…Most times students won’t want to be recognized as the one who goes to therapy,” said Millard South’s social worker, Mindy Kniefl. When asked about combating mental health in high schools, Kniefl described the challenges students face as a result of issues brought by mental illnesses. Stigma towards mental health problems has put illnesses in a negative light for many. Students may find themselves embarrassed or ashamed, therefore avoiding seeking help with their problems. 

 Schools are looking for ways to help students positively navigate trauma and stress in and out of the classroom.  

“With more shootings and violence within schools, the administration is working towards implementing therapy services so students can work through their struggles,”  Kniefl said. 

In partnership with Child Respite Care Center (CRCC), Millard South students and their families have been provided access to mental health counselor, Rasha Ramakrishnan. Ramakrishnan has a Bachelor’s in Psychology and a Masters in Community Counseling and has been working in this field since 2011. She serves as Millard South’s resource for the Integrated School-Based Student Wellness Service. According to the CRCC site, “The [service] was started in response to discussions with Millard Public High School Principals and Administrators regarding the mental health and social/emotional needs of students and families.”

Although mostly dealing with cases of depression or anxiety, Ramakrishnan also supports cases dealing with problems at home with family members.

 “Students have always been available to talk with their counselors about problems dealing with school work or just a stressful day,” Ramakrishnan said, “But we deal with more recurring issues outside of the school.” Family therapy and individual one-on-one sessions are available through contact with Kniefl. Students can access these services by visiting the counselors office, emailing Kniefl, or by a referral from a counselor or teacher. 

Together, Millard Public Schools and CRCC hope to reduce stigma towards mental health challenges and increase the conversation within schools. Services of this kind are readily available to improve the lives of our students and their families. If you or anyone you know is experiencing challenges, speak up about it and seek out support from the community or a trusted adult.