Secondary schools already have wellness centers dedicated to the mental, physical and emotional care of students

Los Angeles County officials, educators and students met Wednesday morning in East Los Angeles to celebrate the opening of a wellness center at Esteban E. Torres High School.

The Wellbeing Center is one of 50 centers installed, or in plans to be installed, within school sites in Los Angeles County. The objective is to promote the health of young people through physical, emotional, sexual, social and resources for leadership training.

Nancy Meza, a campus student, said she was happy to know that students will now have easy access to the resources they need without being judged.

“It's like taking a weight off your shoulders and I want to be part of this. I want to be the student who recommends others to services, ”said Meza.

Monica Garcia, a member of the LAUSD school board, said that in the district there is only one expectation of having 32 wellness centers for all students. The other centers will be in other school districts of the county.

"Young people here at school are going to have their own clinic, a wellness center where they can go to their health," Garcia said. "But above all it will help us eliminate the need to leave school to go to the doctor."

Students and officials celebrated the opening of the Wellbeing Center at Esteban Torres High School. (Supplied)

In the area of ​​sexual health, the centers will provide contraceptive options, pregnancy tests, exams and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases and emergency contraception.

This initiative is part of a partnership of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health with different entities, including the Department of Mental Health, the Office of Education, the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) and Planned Parenthood Los Angeles.

The Center will work closely with teachers, parents and administrators to ensure the academic achievement and well-being of each student.

Dr. Barbara Ferrer, director of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, said she felt a special appreciation for this project as she knows firsthand what it is like to be about to fail in life.

“I was a failed high school student and I almost didn't graduate from high school. The reason I stood out was because there were people who helped me along the way, ”said Ferrer.

This is the same help she wants to replicate and provide to students, especially those in low-income neighborhoods.

"In the end, we all want to make sure that students have every opportunity to grow to their full potential, feeling loved without prejudice as they move forward with confidence towards their brightest future," Ferrer added.

Supervisor Hilda Solís said that of the 50 centers that will open, 14 are located in the first district, which makes up the east and southeast of Los Angeles, their areas of representation.

“Empowering our youth is a priority. We must support their well-being so that they excel at school and see their futures with optimism and hope, ”said Solis. “When we invest in our youth we all win. Our young people grow up to be future political leaders, artists, teachers and scientists. ”

Wellbeing Centers have facilities to educate students about lifelong protection practices. (Supplied)

Research suggests that many teenagers enrolled in Los Angeles County schools that do not receive preventive help on time, may be at risk of smoking / vaping, having unsafe sex and other unhealthy behaviors, such as the use of alcohol and other substances.

The centers will offer services to educate students about lifelong protection practices and promote social / emotional well-being, youth leadership and sexual health.

These spaces will be friendly to young people and will provide students with a safe and welcoming place where they will find supportive adults, support partners and integrated services.

All centers will have highly trained and trained staff not only to provide adequate information on time, but to promote effectiveness and social skills for the youth they serve.

Other services at the centers include: telephone support outside office hours and parent education.


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