Support groups returning to Perry

Student+is+pictured+filling+out+the+support+group+consent+form.

Student is pictured filling out the support group consent form.

Students are coming back and so are support groups. Since its opening in 2019, the mindfulness room has hosted various support groups for students during the conference period. Now, with school returning and conference gone, support groups are managing to stick around for those who need them. 

 

Understanding the basics of what a support group is is crucial to understanding why they are a necessity for students’ wellbeing, even during a pandemic. A support group is a group of people who share a common experience or struggle and support each other through that struggle. Mrs.Taylor, who runs the support groups, says they are helpful because “Groups are a way for students to come together that share similar struggles and support/learn from one another while also learning new skills and ways of coping through that week’s topic/lesson.” Perry High Senior Riann Ravelli attended one of these support groups last year. He says support groups are helpful because they “give a safe space for people to express what’s going on without worrying about being treated negatively for venting.”

 

The COVID-19 risk may make some question why the school is continuing support groups at all. Principal Serrano disagrees with these sentiments and says support groups are necessary because “when we come back on the thirteenth, it is going to be 220 calendar days since you were last on campus and the support groups are very important for some students here and they are going to need access to those.”  With many students having spent the last 6 months isolated from friends and socialization, many may still need support to cope with that extended loss of contact. Support groups can be a good way to help. 

 

Support groups are being held during the last 45 minutes of either the first or last class of the day depending on which group the student is attending. Students attending a group are excused from class according to Serrano. It is not yet entirely clear how the student will be making up the classwork done in their absence, however, it may differ teacher to teacher. Regardless of the teachers’ view of support groups, it is clear that no student will be denied access to leave during the group’s scheduled sessions. Support groups offered at Perry include Grief Group, Anxiety, LGBTQIA+, Coping with Stress and Change, and Dealing with Depression. Students can sign up to attend these groups by locating Mrs. Taylor’s virtual office through her Perry High faculty page and clicking on the “Wellness Room” tab.