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

Sabrina Lo

Support at Carlmont

Any student that is coping with major stressors can benefit from the therapy and counseling program at their school.

Carlmont’s students specifically can utilize their guidance counselors and the Students Offering Support (SOS) division, which is beneficial to students of all ages.

These programs and people immensely contribute to students’ well-being, keeping Carlmont’s suicide rate at zero.

 SOS is a nationwide program dedicated to supporting students through peer counseling. It impacts the mindsets of many students through several presentations that are given to the freshman class each year by showing the hardships that other students have had to endure. Such is meant to encourage freshmen not to give up hope and that life will get better.

“Carlmont has a multi-tiered system of mental health services. Level one is psycho-educational presentations provided by SOS for the entire freshman class. They give an overview of mental health issues and stressors that may arise during adolescence, how to cope, and where to get help. Also provided are personal stories by students who have experienced these challenges, demonstrating resilience and hope,” said Shelley Bustamante, a licensed therapist and the leader of the SOS program at Carlmont. 

The students that partake in this program have stated that they greatly appreciate it, not only because it helps them with their hardships, but also because it allows them to form bonds with students that are struggling with similar problems.

“SOS is different from therapy outside of Carlmont because it’s such a loving community. There’s a lot more human interaction and contact, which helps so many people,” said Emily Livesay, the core leader of the depression and suicide prevention division of SOS.

According to Livesay, a junior at Carlmont, SOS has helped her get through her issues while helping others with theirs.

Livesay is one of the many Carlmont students that hold a leadership position in this program. Through the activities and opportunities that SOS offers, many students have stated that they feel more empowered and supported.

Although the therapy and counseling program at Carlmont is beneficial to many, it has its limitations.

I’m one person, but there are so many students. It’s like I’m just putting out one fire to go to the next.

— Shelley Bustamante

Sophomore Jane Burns* elaborated on how, although these programs are free of cost, they are “a lot more difficult to schedule, as there are so many students that need help with different obstacles.”

Bustamante is well aware of this problem, but it is hard to keep under control in such a large school.

I’m one person, but there are so many students. It’s like I’m just putting out one fire to go to the next. That’s why it’s not only essential to have the counselors be involved, but also to have peer counseling,” Bustamante said.

The guidance counselors also recognize this issue and are putting a significant amount of effort into improving it. 

“We’re all doing various things, but we put personal counseling as our primary responsibility,” said Kristin Vernon, a Carlmont guidance counselor.

Along with counseling, Vernon aids students with their academic schedules and college plans. The multitude of tasks makes it challenging for the counselors to find a balance, which is why there are several of them at Carlmont. 

As for peer counseling, the welcoming and kind community at SOS is extremely helpful for students that cannot find time to make an appointment with their counselors. 

Through these varying factors and impactful people, therapy can benefit each individual to help them grow and get through the obstacles in their lives.

*Due to the sensitive major of the content, this name has been changed to protect the anonymity of the source.

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