For many students, high school can present difficulties. Shelley Bustamante, Carlmont’s crisis counselor and SOS coordinator, helps with these students’ various problems, from things like school anxiety and friend troubles to sexual assault cases.
Bustamante said, “Every day is different. Most of the issues I’ve dealt with lately involve all forms of relationships, academic stress, depression, suicide, grief, anxiety, substance use, child abuse, sexual harassment, and assault.”
Immediately after high school, Bustamante decided on her career path. She worked as a mental health aide at a psychiatric hospital before coming to Carlmont as a counselor.
When she came to Carlmont, her goal was, and still is, to help students in any way that she could. “[Being a mental health aide] made me realize that any person at any given time can experience varying psychiatric disorders given the right set of circumstances. Seeing the positive impact of not only therapy, but also a caring human connection gave me hope that even the most traumatic experiences can be improved. There are many teenagers who need this, and I wanted to help,” she said.
For Bustamante, Carlmont was the perfect place to do this. “I wish that I attended Carlmont High School as a child. I love this school, and I love all that is has to offer. It has the diversity and spirit that I wish I could have experienced as a teenager,” said Bustamante. “I wanted to come here as a counselor to help people appreciate where they are at and continue to be kind to one another. That’s the most important thing.”
Junior Rea Tucker, a regular visitor at Bustamante’s office, said, “She’s an amazing person who is very caring and works really hard at her job. It’s a hard job because it’s emotionally draining, but she keeps her emotions intact and just loves everyone. She is really easy to talk to and she’s funny and really sweet.”
Junior Emily Sevillia, who has also visited Bustamante’s office, expressed the same sentiments. “She is the kind of person who cares way more about her students than she does about herself. She is always willing to talk to anyone who enters her office and will be there for anyone,” said Sevillia. “She is so understanding of teenagers, and any time I need a break, I can go in there and she will do anything she can to help. She is sometimes forgetful and disorganized, but it never really takes away from what she does.”
Bustamante knows that life as a teenage student can sometimes be difficult and overwhelming. From the beginning of her time at Carlmont, she has aimed to help anyone she can in improving their problems, even if it’s just lending an ear.