Coloring books and tea are available in the Wellness Center at La Cañada High School. (Photo by Carly Witteman)
La Cañada High School

Opinion: Why every school should have a wellness center

When I first heard that my high school was investing in the creation of a “Wellness Center” (a place for students to go when they feel stressed or overwhelmed), I shrugged the idea off like a passing thought. I did not see how a space with a few couches and some aromatherapy could be taken as a serious way to alleviate the stress of students at a high performing school.

This past week, I was having a particularly difficult day. All of my hard classes somehow became even more difficult, and various aspects of my extracurriculars and personal life were not helping. I decided to go to the Wellness Center on a whim — some of my friends jokingly suggested it, but I concluded that if I never even seriously considered it, I would never know what it is like.

The smell of lavender immediately hit me as I opened the door. The soft noise of water bubbling like a waterfall was coming from the left of me. A tea station with every tea you can think of was to my right. In the center of the room, a huge grey couch with pillows, blankets, coloring books, and a sand zen garden were staring back at me.

I handed my pass at the receptionist at the front desk, and, signing me in, she informed me that I had a 15 minute pass to do whatever I wanted — sweet!

For the next 15 minutes, I managed to brew a cup of green tea, color a psychedelic design from one of their coloring books, brush the sand and make little mountains in the zen garden, and take a few calming breaths.

As ridiculous as it may sound to those who have not experienced it, the Wellness Center did turn my day around and allowed me to be more mindful. For this reason, every school should have a place like something of this capacity so students who feel helpless have a safe haven they can always go to.

Some may argue that a Wellness Center will just be a place for students to go and goof off if they want to skip class, but the 15 minute rule my school has implemented prevents this. I have talked to many other peers since my trip to the center who all agree it was a worthwhile investment.

One of my friends told me, “Right?! I love it so much!” Another confided that it calmed them down before a stressful exam, helping them perform better.

If your school is a highly competitive environment where stress and anxiety are always present, considering a Wellness Center on campus may be a worthwhile investment. At my school, they even have a psychologist on site if a student has more serious issues that need to be dealt with.

Throughout my high school experience, I have learned that you never know if someone is struggling or having a bad day. A Wellness Center allows students to feel safe and calm, knowing that they are not alone. I applaud my high school for creating one, and I cannot recommend it enough.