The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.

Scot Scoop News

The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.

Scot Scoop News

The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.

Scot Scoop News

Staff Profile: Shelley Bustamante empowers students to overcome mental challenges

Lara Ibasco
Shelley Bustamante talks to one of her students about her well-being. Many students have improved their social skills and gained deeper self-awareness because of her.

From utilizing breathing techniques to offering support for neglect, SOS (Students Offering Support) coordinator and crisis management counselor Shelley Bustamante has been helping Carlmont students tackle emotional obstacles for over 27 years. 

After attending high school, Bustamante worked as a mental health assistant in a psychiatric hospital. She worked with kids around her age and became passionate about talking to them. That’s when Bustamante knew she wanted to become a therapist.

“There was a lack of resources for mental health in the 2000s. I saw a need for it, and because I enjoy talking to people and like kids, I was more drawn toward the job,” Bustamante said. 

The SOS program helps students get back on their feet through individual counseling, group activities like breathing practices, and giving presentations to freshmen about their personal experiences.

“Ms. Bustamante helped me gain a perspective on different types of people and how to talk as well as help them,” said Chase Christensen, a senior at Carlmont.

Christensen has been involved in the SOS program since his freshman year, enjoying the opportunities to deliver presentations for the program.

“The adolescent brain is so in the moment, and the impulsivity that comes with it creates a dangerous outcome. By connecting kids with support, we can reduce such impulsivity,” Bustamante said.

Many come to her to cope with anxiety and depression due to academic stress. According to Bustamante, students believe they need to be perfect to get into college to the point where they let go of their social life.

“What you have to do is examine their flaws and see if they can reframe them and turn them into a different perspective,” Bustamante said.

To combat anxiety by utilizing coping mechanisms, Bustamante encourages her students to laugh. The National Library of Medicine shows that laughter improves anxiety, reducing stress hormone levels while also enhancing communication with students.

Additionally, Bustamante also holds daily breathing exercises on Mondays for the kids in SOS to help with their anxiety.

“Sometimes I work with Ms. Bustamante on breathing exercises. I love working with her. It’s incredible that she started the SOS program by herself,” said Nereda Miramontes, one of the seven therapists who started working with Bustamante this year.

Bustamante continues to brighten students’ days and does her best to help her students on the path to success. 

“I want to make sure that nobody falls through the cracks,” Bustamante said.

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About the Contributor
Lara Ibasco
Lara Ibasco, Staff Writer
Lara Ibasco (Class of 2026) is a sophomore at Carlmont High School. This is her first year in journalism. She hopes to be more involved with her community this year. She enjoys cooking, baking, traveling, and spending time with friends and family.

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