WellSpace Holds Grand Opening, Overwhelmingly Positive Student Response 

By Claire Wilson 

March 6, 2024

On Monday, the long-anticipated WellSpace, or The Rock, held its grand opening  in room 100, featuring a therapy dog and activities with Transitions Mental Health Association. Students filtered in and out of the center, speaking with the TMHA representatives, playing with the dog, and chatting on the couches. 

TMHA has been involved in many school wellness centers, including those at San Luis Obispo High School and Atascadero High School. “The Atascadero center has been there for a really long time,” says TMHA representative Shannon, “and they have so many success stories, so it's really cool to see that.” Their table provided free stickers, pens, candy, crayons, and encouraged students to spin the wheel for mental health trivia questions. 

Student response to the new space has been overwhelmingly positive. “I think it's a really good opportunity for people to go and have a safe space to hangout,” says sophomore Lilly Williams. “I thought that the event today was really fun when we got to pet the dogs.” Lilly points out that the space is quickly becoming a popular club meeting space. Already, the space is being used by the wellness club and Happiness Hangouts group counseling. 

SEL counselor Heather Willis has been part of the WellSpace’s planning and creation from day 1, thanks to several grants. “I kind of have like two jobs,” she says. “One is to kind of manage the wellness space for kids, whatever they need. But the other is I meet with kids individually, on the mental health side.” 

The room’s modern and ambient furnishings and decorations are one of the WellSpace’s most impressive points, and was put together by a group of student volunteers. Williams says, “I really liked how they decorated it. It looks super modern and so pretty and calming. And it's not like there's a bunch of posters everywhere that are distracting. It's like, a very, like nice area, you know?”

The Wellness Center is a very welcoming and enjoyable place, but some students wonder if it will be taken advantage of. What if a student doesn’t want to take their math test? Will they be able to claim they’re having a panic attack and go hang out in the Wellness Center? “That's the tricky part,” says Willis. “I never want to be telling somebody ‘no, you're not having stress’. But I also don't want to be enabling people.” Because of these concerns, the counseling team has a protocol in place. Students who ask to use the space during class will be first sent to the counseling office. A counselor will talk to them and decide if they have reason to use the Wellness Center during class. Ultimately, she’s not too worried. She says, “if it's the same kid every single day, and they're laughing and talking and you know… you can tell if somebody's not doing great. Yeah. I'm not too worried about it.”

This week is “Week of Wellness'', which is hosted by a variety of clubs. It includes fun activities like friendship bracelets, gratitude chalk, hot chocolate, and more.