IHS Mental Health Resources – Tanisha Deep


“When the Virtual Wellness Center was set up, I was added to help because I was already involved with the Wellness Center at school before Coronavirus. I joined the wellness committee and the wellness center because I felt there weren’t any resources available at Irvington for mental health. One resource that I felt like was lacking was student support in the aspect that students sometimes feel uncomfortable talking to adults about their mental health issues because it’s intimidating to them. So, I thought that we should have an approach where students can also talk to trained students, so that way, they’ll be a little bit more open.

I feel like the mental health state of our school has probably gotten a little worse just because of the pandemic. As administration and as the wellness committee, we just wanted to provide a resource, which usually the Wellness Center used to serve at our school. But now that that’s not available, we don’t want the students who used to come there, or the students who felt like they might have needed to come there, to feel like they don’t have a way now, because school is closed. So that’s why we decided to make this platform. I know it’s not the same as the Wellness Center used to be, but at least it’s something that students can rely on.

The Virtual Wellness Center and wellness committee is composed of a couple of students, administration, counselors, assistant principals, health teachers, and sometimes Ms. Melsby also attends. There aren’t any set roles in the Virtual Wellness center. I’m just a student representative, and us student representatives provide a more student perspective to everything that they talk about. Mr. Honerkamp is the unofficial leader of our wellness committee. He sort of chooses who comes to the meetings based on the agenda and what we’re discussing that day. The more permanent members of the wellness committee are usually those who are on an ongoing project at Irvington, that’s regarding mental health, so that we can keep updating everyone with it.

Everyone guides the discussions and decisions, but students a bit less of course. Mr. Honerkamp does make most of the final calls, but most of the time it just depends on what individual projects we’re working on. For me, since I’m working on a resource, usually I end up making most of the big calls. But I do update everybody in the wellness committee about the calls that I’m making. Same with the health teachers. If they’re working on a new project, or they’re working on something, they usually make the calls. But the thing is that we like to keep everyone updated. That’s what the wellness committee is more about. We just like to keep everyone updated with all of the projects that we’re working on. And if we do talk about something in which a decision needs to be made, it’s usually Mr. Honerkamp who makes the final call.”