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New wellness center opens at Escondido High School

Offering teens services to improve mental health
Posted at 4:58 PM, Aug 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-16 23:49:29-04

ESCONDIDO, Calif. (KGTV) -- A new wellness center opened Monday at Escondido High School. The space was created thanks to a public-private partnership to improve the mental health of students returning to school.

New this year at Escondido High School, there is a special room.

"Our design we came up with a coffee-ish, cafe-esque design to motivate the kids and inspire the kids," Tiana Uribe with a local literacy organization, the Wildflower Initiative, said.

It's not quite a classroom, nor is it just a library. Think of it as a relaxing lounge filled with inspirational books and text on mental health. They are calling it a wellness space for teens.

A pilot project was completed thanks to a three-way collaboration between the Wildflower Initiative, the Escondido Union High School District, and the Church at Rancho Bernardo.

"We contributed half the funds to build the space, and we also brought in all the volunteers," Donna Perez, impact coordinator at the Church of Rancho Bernardo, said. "We're blessed they trust us with an initiative like this."

The aim is to assist students in transitioning back to in-person learning after more than a year of isolated instruction.

"We have some behavioral health therapists that are available for some visits and group sessions and just get them established with a sound foundation to return back to class," Superintendent Anne Staffieri of the Escondido Union High School District said.

Organizers said the timing of opening could not be more perfect. They hope students come through the doors to reflect on their personal wellbeing.

"Coming back, having anxiety and depression from the time they spent in quarantine, this will be, in our opinion, vital for them to experience," Uribe said.

This is the first of three schools in the Escondido Union High School District that will have the wellness space available for students.