During the summer months, students are unable to contact their school counselors and receive a response right away. Most school counselors on the Sammamish Plateau will only be checking their emails closer to when the school year begins in the fall. This leaves a gap for students who need mental health support, or want to ask questions about available resources they can utilize.
With the COVID-19 pandemic, students face new stresses and added pressure. Some of their parents and guardians have lost jobs or are working from home. A lot of uncertainty exists on what the future holds, especially when schools will open again. For teens, social distancing prevents many from seeing their friends, going to movies or concerts, or even holding their usual summer job. Plus, everyone worries about family members who live in other parts of the country with more active COVID-19 outbreaks. These factors can affect anyone’s mental health. Students may even be emotionally influenced by their parents and not realize how that impacts their own well-being.
The Sammamish Independent has compiled the following resources within our community, including available counselors and mental health programs, that anyone can use this summer.
- Lake Washington School District’s website has a list of resources that families can use during the summer. These resources cover a variety of concerns including childcare, computers/internet access, economic resources, food resources, general resources, legal assistance, online learning resources, summer programs, transportation, and of course, wellness.
- The Issaquah School District website also provides a similar list for families who need assistance. Here, one can find resources on childcare services, financial assistance, transportation services, support for families in Chinese, Spanish, and other languages, “help your community” resources and healthcare services.
- The Sammamish YMCA recently hired a new therapist, Melinda Burns, who specializes in working with youth and adolescents. Students can talk with her about anything they want. Burns is an outpatient mental health therapist, and you do not need to be a member of the YMCA to meet with her. She will also be serving at Eastside Catholic School (EC) six hours a week. The cost of her services varies depending on the situation. EC students will not be charged if they are referred to Burns by a school counselor. She takes meetings on a virtual platform for now, but can also do sessions by phone.
I have been working in behavioral health for 20 years. I have worked in in-patient hospitalization, group homes, and schools. I have a Masters in Community Psychology from The Seattle School of Theology and Psychology. I have a license for mental health counseling. I recently worked at Children’s Crisis Outreach Response Systems through Seattle YMCA as a crisis responder.
- CrossPath Counseling is another organization in Sammamish that provides mental health services for children and adolescents. They cover a broad area of topics, including stress, anxiety, family conflict, depression, bullying, ADD/ADHD, trauma, eating disorders, and grief and loss. During an initial consultation with CrossPath, they will do a general assessment to get a sense of what is happening within the youth’s life and explain how counseling will work. CrossPath provides free and confidential services to any youth who live, or go to school, in the Sammamish area.
- And for parents, Balance in Mind is a program supported by the Lake Washington Schools Foundation to help parents learn about mental health issues. Balance in Mind has been hosting weekly webinars on Wednesday nights for parents who want to learn more about how to help their kids. Topics such as anxiety, gratitude, grief, and managing screen time have been covered over the past few months. You can view the webinars on their YouTube channel.
- Finally, if there is an emergency, contact 911, or the Crisis Connections Line of King County at (206) 461-3222. This line is open 24/7.
- You can also text “Home” or “hello” to 741741. This is a national crisis text line, also available 24/7. Within five minutes, you will be connected to a trained crisis counselor who will help.