Hellgate Community Sees Increase in Mental Health Concerns


This is one of the many QR codes currently up around the hallways at Hellgate Photo Courtesy of Julia Key

Julia Key, Reporter

     The last few months have proven to be a struggle within the Hellgate community. Getting back into the normal school groove hasn’t gone as smoothly as expected, which caused a decline in the mental health of many Hellgate students.

     According to the school’s current social worker Tracy Ledyard, “We are seeing record high numbers of students who are suffering from anxiety, [and] lots of maladaptive ways of coping with all the things that are stressing them out.” These complicated times are putting lots of students in a stressful place. 

     Hellgate used to have 3 CSCT ((Comprehensive School and Community Treatment Program) teams, each one consisting of a licensed therapist and a behavioral specialist from outside of the school. Each team can work with about 18 students at a time, but the school is now down to just one team, said Ledyard. These teams can see students as their clients inside of school. Lots of students greatly benefit from this, but now many kids who could use this resource are having to be put on waiting lists, postponing getting the help they need, due to the shortage of teams. The CSCT program is also exclusive to students with Medicaid, which makes the cut off for who can and can’t get help even more exclusive.

     The school is working on gaining more resources to broaden the help that they can give. According to school counselor Ben Martin, the school is working on getting another social worker. “We can use them as a support, to open up some other resources that we have,” said Martin. 

     One of the school’s resources for students is the blue card system. When a student is having an especially hard time, they can talk to their teacher about a blue card. When you ask for a blue card you are given a few minutes outside of class for a breather. If that wasn’t enough you can head to the student services area on the second floor, where they have created a safe space to reflect. In the blue card room, someone will come to check on you and you can have a talk, or you can just take a few quiet minutes if you don’t feel like talking. This resource has proven very beneficial for many students who just need a few minutes of peace outside of class. 

     If you need to speak more directly with someone, there are QR codes all over the school, in the halls and on bulletin boards that lead to a Student Services Request Form. With this form you can request to meet just about anyone you might need in the student services area. 

     You are also welcome to pop by student services anytime you are in need and there will usually be someone to help you out, according to Martin. 

     And remember no matter where you are in life or with your mental health, you are not alone. Reach out to someone, talk to a counselor, it can (and will) get better.