Students Offering Support provides aid and education for mental health

The+SOS+room+provides+comfort+and+inspiring+words+for+students.+The+room+offers+students+a+safe+environment+to+talk+about+their+issues+or+experiences+with+their+peers%2C+Le+said.

Lauren Elliott

The SOS room provides comfort and inspiring words for students. “The room offers students a safe environment to talk about their issues or experiences with their peers,” Le said.

Carlmont’s Students Offering Support (SOS) program provides an outlet for struggling students as well as valuable presentations to the freshman class. 

Any student who is struggling with their mental health, stress, personal life, or more, can come to the SOS room to relax or to talk to Shelley Bustamante, the educator in charge of the program. 

Skylar Le is a freshman and uses the SOS room when she is experiencing stress.

“For me personally, the SOS room has provided me a place where I’m able to decompress and take a step back from the things that overwhelm me. I’m not forced to talk about anything and often will just get some work done while taking some time to myself,” Le said.

Being a freshman, Le and other students of the freshman class were given presentations by student leaders of SOS. These presentations are part of the life skills curriculum, where freshmen spend a quarter of the school year learning about drug abuse, preventing violence, alcohol, and more. 

Ava Farrell, a freshman, believes that the presentations helped her understand more about dangerous affairs and what to do in those situations.

Bustamante has helped not only me but every one that is part of SOS and attends. She is an amazing support system and has helped me to open up about a lot of the stresses in my life”

— Skylar Le

“The SOS presentations were an amazing way to bring awareness to a lot of serious issues and to help me notice warning signs of danger. They covered depression, eating disorders, sexual assault, and a lot of other topics that people often tiptoe around,” Farrell said.

In addition to educating the freshman class, the SOS program provides individual counseling with Bustamante and a private room to relax in the office. Student leaders of the SOS program like Nefeli Tsangaropoulos, a senior, also help out students.

“No one has to be mentally ill or be part of SOS to go into the room, the purpose of the room is just for students to unwind and talk to Bustamante if they’re struggling or even talk to one of the core leaders such as myself,” Tsangaropoulos said. 

As the core leader of child abuse, Tsangaropoulos helps students deal with harassment, assault, and more. She also provides introductions to the SOS room to any new people visiting the room.

“During my clerk period I provide mediations and also talk with some of the students if Bustamante is busy,” Tsangaropoulos explained. 

Along with the SOS program, Carlmont offers other mental health outlets and support programs such as additional presentations and therapy dogs to help with stress.  The community of support SOS provides and these additional efforts allow students to feel cared for and heard. 

“Bustamante has helped not only me but everyone who is part of SOS and attends it. She is an amazing support system and has helped me to open up about a lot of the stresses in my life,” Le said.