The student news site of Western Albemarle High School - Crozet, VA

The Western Hemisphere

The student news site of Western Albemarle High School - Crozet, VA

The Western Hemisphere

The student news site of Western Albemarle High School - Crozet, VA

The Western Hemisphere

Riders test out the WAHS mountain bike course the night before the big event.
WAHS Hosts Mountain Bike Event
Cooper Shelton, Staff Writer • June 3, 2024
Dan Bledsoe and Cal Miller
Dan Bledsoe Named New Athletic Director
Sophie Mathew, Assistant Editor • May 31, 2024

Mental Health at WAHS

Though virtually every Western student has paid a visit to their assigned counselor, fewer are aware of the mental health counseling program that the school has to offer. Alanah Horning, Western’s mental health counselor, has taken steps with her team to change this, most significantly with the implementation of Mental Health Week each spring. This year, the week culminated with an outdoor celebration during the extended lunch period on Friday, where cotton candy, lawn games, and temporary tattoos were strewn around the front of the school. There was an overwhelmingly positive response from students following the event, and many appreciated the break that it provided. Lauren Garrett, a junior in Leadership said “I loved it. I thought it was great… I really love any long break,” and junior Elsie Cole said that “It was great. That was the day of our SOL so I really appreciated it. It was really nice.” When reflecting on the success of the week, Ms. Horning noted that she thinks “it’s effective to do something for students that’s noticeable.” In other words, the Western Mental Health team has found the most success through initiatives that students aren’t forced to seek out themselves.

However, for students that are willing to take the initiative, Western does have numerous mental health resources to offer. For example, Ms. Horning provides one on one sessions, leads support groups that are themed around different mental health topics (relationships, anxiety and stress management), directs peer support, and even provides referrals to outside resources (trauma therapists, therapy groups, etc.). She also wants to remind students that every single assigned counselor is trained to offer these services as well, as few students recognize this and in turn this resource is underutilized. For students that aren’t ready to have a conversation about what they’re feeling but need to get away from class, there is a “calming room” located near the administrative office that is filled with blankets, stuffed animals and coloring books. Ms. Horning hasn’t seen one resource in particular be used the most, but states that “I think that we have definitely seen an increase in students coming down and to me that means that the resources we offer are being utilized well.”

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About the Contributor
Caroline Grist
Caroline Grist, Staff Writer
Caroline is a junior at WAHS who is in her first year of journalism. Outside of school, she loves lacrosse, reading, her cat, and spending time with friends and family. She is looking forward to this school year.
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