Wellness Center Ribbon Cutting

Eureka City Schools Addresses Youth Mental Health Priorities with New Wellness Center
Posted on 05/11/2023

May 5, 2023 - Eureka, CA - Eureka City Schools (ECS) is in the process of implementing Wellness Centers on campuses throughout the District. The first Wellness Center was recently developed and is currently housed on the Eureka High School (EHS) campus. An official Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for the Wellness Center was held on Tuesday, May 2, 2023 with the Greater Eureka Chamber of Commerce to celebrate this ambitious endeavor.  

Now staff and students are ready to share this amazing new space with the community while also bringing awareness to Mental Health Month May. The Wellness Center is hosting a public open house, Wednesday, May 24, 2023, anytime from 8:30 am to 6:30 pm.  

Although located at EHS, the Wellness Center is meant to serve all Eureka City Schools’ students and is acting as the model and pilot program with plans to scale the project to other campuses. These Wellness Centers are meant to help fulfill Priority Area 3 of the ECS Strategic Plan. Priority areas are set by the ECS Board of Education, and Mental Health and Social-Emotional Wellness falls under Priority Area 3. 

“I think the Board has said loud and clear they support the expansion of these,” said ECS Trustee Area 1 Board Member, Lisa Ollivier. “The opportunities are endless for students to come in and reregulate, reconnect, calm down, and to seek out services. This is what the students have needed and I hope it gets that continuous use that they have been crying out for. This is going to help with morale, students feeling empowered, students feeling valued, and them knowing - people heard that they needed help and that they wanted help. So this is so important.”

“Eureka City Schools allows for students' voices to be heard and the Wellness Center is a direct reflection of responding to students' needs and requests,” said ECS Wellness Counselor and Coordinator, Sarahdee Duncan.

The EHS S.A.G.E (Student Advocates Guiding Engagement) and EHS youth/student leadership team completed Phase 1, December 2022 - creating a space of ‘calm’ - through student feedback groups, visioning, and creating the space. Students have been able to access the calm space for the past few months and are seeing the benefits of having a safe environment they can retreat to when feeling stressed or overwhelmed.

The EHS Wellness Center is currently in Phases 2 and 3, which are to analyze data and feedback then use that information to improve and expand services for students. Services can include individual and group therapy, peer support, self-directed services, and access to community mental health providers. Services already being provided include 1:1 therapy with Open Door Community Health Centers and a Pepperdine Clinical Student, as well as several rounds of successful group therapy provided by interns from Cal Poly Humboldt Social Work programs.

The Wellness Center’s vision is to create a support system that allows school to be a place of healing while lifting up the essential values of connection and relationships. The ECS qualified staff, calm space, access to resources and therapy are designed to realize this vision. 

“I’ve seen the Wellness Center provide our students with the needed space and support to reset so that they can return to class and get back to learning. Schools can be places of healing and I think with programs like this, we can make them places of healing,” said Duncan.

The Wellness Center ribbon cutting was celebrated by ECS and Wellness Center Staff with special guests ECS Board Member Lisa Ollivier, ECS Superintendent Fred Van Vleck, EHS Principal Rob Standish, Ambassadors, Board Members and Staff from the Greater Eureka Chamber of Commerce, partners from Open Door Community Health, and City of Eureka Mayor Kim Bergel.