Mrs. Wright: “You Aren’t Swimming In This Crazy Soup Of A World By Yourself.”

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Jerome High School- Mrs. Wendy Wright is an extraordinary teacher. She is involved in pretty much anything and everything that has to do with JHS. Mrs. Wright is the teacher for both Student Government and Student Body. She is also one of the many teachers here that are worried for students’ mental health. 

When she was asked about what the Student Government, and herself, are doing to really get the Mental Health issue more obvious, this is what she said, “We are trying to make sure that everyone is aware of resources, the fact that we have Mr. Cooper in our building, the fact that there are hotlines available, those are posted on the bulletin board by the history hallway. We just want to make sure that people are aware of their resources, and it’s not a ‘I’m by myself in this matter,’ it’s we have resources, we have counselors, we have teachers, we have students that are willing to help. We just want to make sure that everybody realizes that there are those resources, and that they aren’t swimming in this crazy soup of a world by themselves.” 

Mrs. Wright came to us about pushing the mental health of students more. She wanted students to know they aren’t alone when it comes to talking about things. “I think I would want more students to be aware of what’s inside the school for help, and just not assume that ‘I’m the crazy person.’ ‘I don’t know who to talk too.’ ‘I’m just going to keep it inside of myself.’ We have to be proactive and we have to realize that people don’t like to talk about themselves and they don’t like to talk about personal problems. But you have to realize that it’s not healthy to keep that inside and I think that we just need to be aware that there are resources. I think that my biggest push is trying to say ‘hey, there are resources available. Please don’t feel like a freak if you need to reach out to somebody.’”

During the interview, Mrs. Wright brought up a “Sounding Board” which is someone that you can always go to and they will always be there for you to help. For some people it’s their best friend, others its parents or siblings, for Mrs. Wright it’s her mom. Even if students aren’t able to trust a friend or family member,  “I don’t want kids to feel like they’re isolated and alone. I want to feel like they can come see me for anything.” Mrs. Wright is one of the many teachers that are willing to step up and help students get things off of their minds.

Earlier, Mrs. Wright mentioned some of the resources that we have available here at JHS. One resource is Mr. Cooper. He is an, “Addictions and D/A counselor that provides assessment, education and counseling to students when referred from counseling office or admin.” 

When we asked Mr. Cooper what he does to help students, he said, “I work with kids who may have some emotional issues or some mental health or behavioral issues. Usually some emotional and behavioral issues with IEPs or general Ed kids who may be going through anxiety or depression, may have some extra stress. I can give a little bit more time to work with them and talk with them about some of those issues maybe even contact or connect with an outside counselor, or maybe a doctor, or maybe even their parents.”

Sometimes things take a little bit to get through, so we asked Mr. Cooper what are some of the steps that he takes to help students who have Mental Health problems. “Normally, after they see the administrators and the counselors down stairs, the counselors and administrators will refer the student to me to work with them a little more on a little bit more in depth issues. Some of the steps I take is an initial assessment to see how much services they might need, what resources they have here at the school, what type of resources they have at home, maybe even what type of resources they have in the community. Then we go from there with some of the needs that they might have, or maybe some extra context, or maybe just provide a calm down place for them to come if they need too, to talk. It kinda depends on their level of how much serve they actually need.” Mr. Cooper told us that everything is kept confidential, unless the parents, school, or maybe even the law need to be notified. 

Mrs. Wright gave us some information that tells us all of the places that are local that students can go to, to get help. According to Macie Gardener Social Media Post “They aren’t ‘looney bins’ or ‘psych wards.’ You don’t go there and never come back. They are places you can go if you don’t feel safe being alone, when you are having dark thoughts, or just need help. I know that committing yourself or a loved one sounds scary, however it is one of the most helpful things you can do for yourself if you’re in a dark place. It gives you a break from the daily stresses of life and it provides a safe place to think, process emotions, and to get expert help with managing your mental illness. The process of getting into these places has changed due to Covid but if you’re experiencing any kind of dark thoughts, suicidal thoughts, or suicidal ideation (wanting to die/be dead but not wanting to take action) call 911 or walk into your emergency room and tell them you’re having a mental health crisis and they cannot turn you away. They will find a safe place for you to be while you work with experts to better your mindset.” 

Please, if you need help, there are many resources available. Not just at school but also around the community. Some Crisis centers: 

Twin falls: Crisis Center of South Central Idaho. Open 24 hours 1(866) 737 1128. 

Canyon View: (208) 814 7900. 

Idaho falls: Behavioral Health Crisis Center Open 24 hours(208) 522 0727 

Boise: Pathways of Idaho Community Crisis Center (833) 527 4747; 

Intermountain: 24 hours (800) 321 5984; 

Cottonwood Creek: (208) 202 4700; 

Idaho suicide hotline: 24 hours(208) 398 4357; 

National Suicide Hotline: 24 hours (800) 273 8255