The student news site of Daniel Pearl Magnet High School in Lake Balboa, CA

The Pearl Post

  • May 24Field Trip to Dodgers Stadium from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Saturday, June 1
  • May 24Student picnic at 6:30 p.m. and Movie Night at 8 p.m. on Friday, May 31
  • May 24Senior Dinner at 5:30 p.m. and Awards Ceremony at 7:00 p.m. in the MPR on Thursday, May 30
  • May 24LAUSD Food Truck Event during lunch on Thursday, May 30
  • May 24Spirit Week from Tuesday, May 28 to Friday, May 31
  • May 17No school on Monday, May 27 for Memorial Day

The Pearl Post

The student news site of Daniel Pearl Magnet High School in Lake Balboa, CA

The student news site of Daniel Pearl Magnet High School in Lake Balboa, CA

The Pearl Post

Students deserve adequate mental health support at such a small school

In light of Mental Health Awareness Month, DPMHS needs more mental health counselors that reflect a diverse student body.
Kristin Intal
While students get to meet with the school social worker three times a week and psychologist only once a week, there needs to be consistent mental health support throughout students’ hectic school lives. Without anyone for students to talk to, this fuels fire to a growing mental health crisis facing schools across the country.
The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) provides resources for students and families through partnerships with community and local organizations. Additional external resources for free external mental health intervention are availbale through Restorative Justice and Erika’s Lighthouse. For any emergency, please call 911. (Isaac Herrera)

Content warning: discussions of suicide and suicide ideation.

Being someone with autism, chronic depression and anxiety, I know firsthand what it’s like to have good and bad days with my mental health. I had my first panic attack in the fifth grade, the reason behind it being all of the stress behind the upcoming transition into middle school. I was later diagnosed with autism, which explained all of my social anxiety and repetitive behaviors. It wasn’t until my senior year of high school, after being admitted to a hospital for suicidal thoughts, that I was diagnosed with chronic depression. 

If there hadn’t been someone on campus the day I wanted to end my life, I would not be here today. I can’t even imagine how many students have needed someone to talk to but didn’t receive the help they needed. The need for more mental health counselors is dire with more students needing support in a stressful academic environment. Since May is Mental Health Awareness Month, I hope that more light will be shed on the dropping rate of teen mental health.

Throughout my experience in school, I know that other students like me need help with their mental health. With our own psychiatric social worker JoAnne Tuell present for three days a week and school psychologist Eliana Lichtman here only once per week, I can’t even imagine what larger schools, with more students needing mental health support, in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) are facing. 

“The health and safety of our students remains our top priority,” a Los Angeles Unified spokesperson said regarding the growing issue of mental health support. “We strongly encourage students to reach out to an adult on campus if they are experiencing a mental health crisis.”

However insightful this message is, a rise in suicide among teenagers emphasizes the need for more mental health support must be prioritized on school campuses. Suicide rates among Los Angeles teens under the age of 16 have skyrocketed tremendously. This is the youngest age ever seen in suicide rates, which is absolutely terrifying to think about.

The need for more mental health support in schools is critical for students to attend school on a daily basis. We students can’t learn if we are battling a mental health situation, which is why there needs to be a psychologist on the daily for students to talk to. 

With the need for more mental health counselors, the need also arises for these counselors to be people of color. In LAUSD, the majority of students are of color, with 74% Hispanic/Latino, 10% White, 7.3% Black or African American, 5.7% Asian or Asian Pacific Islander, 0.1% American Indian or Alaska Native and 0.2% Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander. In a survey conducted in 2019 by the American Psychological Association, 76% of mental health counselors in the U.S. are white. This can make it difficult for us teenagers of color to relate to a mental health counselor who does not understand what we are going through. 

Although I may not look it, I am half Hispanic and have been raised by a Hispanic grandma. I have not met one mental health counselor who is Latino and can tell me about the struggles we Latinos face, such as economic hardships, job and food security. Mental health counselors should reflect a diverse student body so that students of color can feel more comfortable opening up, as Latinos, Asians and African Americans top the list for mental health support in schools. 

May is Mental Health Awareness Month and the need for schools all across the United States need counselors who understand the struggles we teenagers face every day. Having readily available mental health support in schools, especially mental health counselors that reflect the many cultural backgrounds of LAUSD students, can ease the current mental health crisis plaguing us as students. This ensures a secure place for students to feel comfortable, heard and assisted within an academic setting. 

If you or someone you know is struggling or in crisis, help is available. Call or text 988 or chat Veterans, press 1 when calling. 24/7  Crisis Hotline: 988 & Crisis Lifeline

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About the Contributors
Jazmine Valerio
Jazmine Valerio, Yearbook Editor
Jazmine Valerio is a senior and is in her second year as one of the Prestige Yearbook editors. While being a yearbook editor, she is also the 2023-2024 ASB Vice President. In Valerio’s free time, she enjoys reading, sewing, spending time with her family and friends and collecting stuffed animals. Valerio is looking forward to helping design the last yearbook of her high school experience and take part in the Leadership class.
Isaac Herrera
Isaac Herrera, Opinion Editor
Isaac Herrera is in his first year on staff as the Opinion Editor for The Pearl Post. He is in his junior year and serves as the National Honor Society Secretary. His goal for this year is to venture outside his comfort zone to establish connections with the voices of students on campus. Outside of school, he volunteers at his local library and improves his culinary skills.
Kristin Intal
Kristin Intal, Visual Editor
Kristin Intal is a junior and in her first year on staff. As the Visual Editor, she plans to contribute by expanding her knowledge of both journalism and the students of the school. Outside of classes, she can be found volunteering or exploring different hobbies, such as digital art and martial arts.
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