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The Piedmont Highlander

The Piedmont Highlander

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Wellness Center Celebrates Fifteen Years

Sophie Hess
Entrance to the Wellness Center

Baskets filled to the brim with condoms, tampons, and granola bars sit by the open door. Flyers advertising free counseling services are stapled next to STD information sheets that plaster the walls. Not a private health clinic, but a room at Piedmont High School — the Wellness Center.

 The Center’s annual Week of Wellness ended on Sept. 27, commemorating 15 years of providing Piedmont students with a safe place to discuss mental health. 

 “[Throughout the years] we’ve raised awareness of mental health support in the high school, and reduced the stigma around mental health as a whole,” said Alisa Crovetti PhD, Clinical Supervisor and Training Director of the Wellness Center.

  Crovetti has been working in Piedmont since 2009, and was instrumental in the development of the center, overseeing therapists and programs as a whole.

  In 2007, former Director of Student Services Brooke Zimmerman started the Wellness Center after results from the Healthy Kids Survey showed high amounts of stress, anxiety, drinking, drug use, and suicidal ideation among students. 

  “We wanted to make sure that students were safe, and had a place to go where they could have a confidential conversation with somebody and feel that they were heard and could access help in the way that would best service them,” Zimmerman said.

  Zimmerman spoke with the county Office of Education, worked with parents, people in healthcare services, politicians, and other district employees for over a year before the Wellness Center was officially opened.

“It’s expensive to run,” Zimmerman said. “We started looking under every rock to find money [to fund the center].”

  The majority of the clinic’s funding comes from donations from Piedmont families, according to the Piedmont High School website. It also receives money from behavioral health-care services in Alameda county.

  Since its inception, the Wellness Center has grown immensely. MHS Principal and former Wellness Center administrator Irma Muñoz said the Wellness Center operates like a clinic, providing therapeutic services from certified and training therapists.

  “I think we have something special.” Muñoz said. “ If [students] are experiencing challenges during the school day, we provide the support for [them]. And [they] can still attend to [their] academics at the same time.”

  Not only has the Wellness Center aided highschool students, but graduate and undergraduate students as well. In May, the Wellness Center received national recognition as an accredited training site for psychologists. 

  “Now we have access to interns nationwide.” Muñoz said. “This accreditation gives us a lot more possibilities.”

  With students from the Wright Institute, a private graduate school of psychology, training to be licensed marriage and family therapists, Phd students, and practicum students from UC Berkeley, the Wellness Center serves as a hub for hands-on therapist training.

  “We have a really formalized training program,” Crovetti said.

  Through the committed workers, the Wellness Center works to achieve its goal: to promote discussion about mental health and prevent the development of negative mental health, Crovetti said.

  “[The Wellness Center] is super accessible and easy to set up an appointment,”senior Sadie Town said.

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About the Contributors
Ruby Guzdar
Ruby Guzdar, Campus Editor
Ruby Guzdar (11) is a campus co-editor at TPH. Outside of school, she loves playing lacrosse and tennis, cooking birds, hiking with her dogs, and spending time with friends.
Sophie Hess
Sophie Hess, Photos Editor
Sophie Hess (11) is the Photographer for TPH. Apart from journalism, she enjoys cooking, gardening, and traveling with her family.
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