The Academy Gazette

The Student News Site of Academy of American Studies

The Academy Gazette

The Academy Gazette

Going to guidance: a look inside Academy’s support services

In recent years, mental health has been a rising issue among high school students. Here at the Academy of American Studies, there are an abundance of guidance counselors with the social and emotional skill to assist students struggling with mental health difficulties in their academic journeys. 

As of 2021, 9 percent of teenagers in New York City alone reported attempting suicide, the number even higher among those not reported. Mental health is a big reason teens decide to drop out of high school, the percentage being 50 percent. Students having the means to access a guidance counselor is vital to their education and daily lives. According to the NY Senate, the ratio of counselors to students is 1:635.

When asked about the biggest mental health struggle faced in high school, senior Zaina Charles says, “depression is the biggest struggle because in high school, you go through major life changes and you have to learn to be there for yourself first and foremost.” This is a struggle many teenagers ages 14-18 face when life as they know it is constantly changing. 

Building close relationships with guidance counselors seems to give students accessibility to more resources, assistance, and encouragement. According to a current senior, guidance counselors are there to push you to challenge yourself in different aspects of your high school life. When asked about how his guidance counselors have helped him in high school, he answered,  “academically, they have pushed me to take hard and challenging classes that would test me, and have pushed me to pursue programs I wouldn’t have otherwise.” 

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With guidance counselors, they don’t just push you to challenge yourself, but they also respect and support your space and personal decisions. The senior mentions, “During my years here at Academy, I’d go to my guidance counselor to change a few classes where I would feel uncomfortable being with certain students or teachers in my class.” Giving students the comfort and respect to be able to make these decisions for themselves encourages students to keep coming back and speaking their mind.

When interviewing Marjorie Antoine, she told us that the guidance department has a range of mental health resources and support available to students, such as their partnership with Rise. Rise pairs students together to make friends and talk about their problems in order to help them get through it all. 

The guidance department also takes proactive measures to promote mental wellness and prevent mental health issues among students. According to the counselors, these measures range from mental health fairs through student government and  getting in touch with SAPIS (for help with substance abuse) in the building, to taking small groups of students to Western Queens Consultation Center to promote awareness about student mental health outside. Lastly, the guidance department in our school collaborates with teachers and staff before the year begins to discuss how to best support students who may be struggling– this helps teachers and staff provide the students with all the help they need.

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