Wellness Center

With SATs and AP Tests right around the corner, it may be beneficial to discuss test anxiety with your student. Test anxiety is actually a form of performance anxiety which affects 25-40% of students. While it’s perfectly normal for a student to feel nervous before a test, test anxiety can be overwhelming for students and disrupt their concentration and ability. Here are a couple steps you can take to support your student in combating their test anxiety:

  • Positive self-talk can go a long way in altering one’s perception of their ability. Encourage your student to talk to themselves about how they would talk to a friend or loved one experiencing the same anxiety. We are often our own worst critic and, in many instances, we talk to ourselves more negatively than we would ever talk to someone else.
  • Acceptance of mistakes can also shift your student’s mindset around their ability. First, remind your student that trying their best is realistically the most they can do. Even when trying our absolute best, people still make mistakes. Second, model this behavior for your students. Are you shaming your student when their best effort isn’t “good enough” or beating yourself up when you make a mistake? Offer grace in the face of mistakes. We’re all human after all.
  • Teach test taking basics to your student so they might feel more confident when the time comes to take a test. Believe it or not, study skills and test taking strategies are learned. Just because students have to take tests, doesn’t mean they are actually equipped to do so successfully.

Source: kidshealth.org
 
Kiara Thomas- Wellness Intake Specialist

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Wellness Center

When it comes to mental health and overall wellness, locus of control is a key factor in how your student relates to the world. In psychology, locus of control is related to the extent to which an individual believes that they are in control of facets that impact their lives. To have an external locus of control, an individual believes that life happens to them. In other words, there are external influences driving the events that occur in one’s life. Opposite to this is an internal locus of control, when an individual believes that they have control over what happens in their life. An example of this would be a student understanding the fact that they do have the choice of whether or not they will attend a class.
 
While we are well aware that there are plenty of things that happen in life that are entirely out of our control (a pandemic for example), locus of control becomes relevant when considering what to do in the face of said thing. Research has proven time and again that people with a higher internal locus of control are happier and more mentally healthy. When interacting with your student, consider the role you play in fostering an internal locus of control. As a caregiver it is easy to want to rescue your student in a time of need, however, what might be more beneficial is teaching them the value in advocating for themselves. With that being said, it is equally important to be a soft place for them to land if things don’t work out how they would have hoped.
 
Kiara Thomas-Wellness Intake Specialist

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Wellness Center

When it comes to mental health and overall wellness, locus of control is a key factor in how your student relates to the world. In psychology, locus of control is related to the extent to which an individual believes that they are in control of facets that impact their lives. To have an external locus of control, an individual believes that life happens to them. In other words, there are external influences driving the events that occur in one’s life. Opposite to this is an internal locus of control, when an individual believes that they have control over what happens in their life. An example of this would be a student understanding the fact that they do have the choice of whether or not they will attend a class.
 
While we are well aware that there are plenty of things that happen in life that are entirely out of our control (a pandemic for example), locus of control becomes relevant when considering what to do in the face of said thing. Research has proven time and again that people with a higher internal locus of control are happier and more mentally healthy. When interacting with your student, consider the role you play in fostering an internal locus of control. As a caregiver it is easy to want to rescue your student in a time of need, however, what might be more beneficial is teaching them the value in advocating for themselves. With that being said, it is equally important to be a soft place for them to land if things don’t work out how they would have hoped.
 
Kiara Thomas- Wellness Intake Specialist

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Wellness Center

September is suicide awareness and prevention month. Although this is an extremely difficult topic to discuss with your student, it is also extremely necessary to do so.
 
Suicide is the second leading cause of death for people ages 10 to 34 and it can touch any community at any time. It is important to know the warning signs and what to do if you suspect that your child or someone else that you care about is suicidal. Parents looking for resources to educate themselves on the statistics, warning signs and preventative measures surrounding teen suicide can find them here.
 
In the hope of making suicide prevention more accessible than ever, 988 is a new national emergency phone number that will immediately connect callers to professional crisis support personnel.
 
Kiara Thomas- Wellness Intake Specialist

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Wellness Center

September is suicide awareness and prevention month. Although this is an extremely difficult topic to discuss with your student, it is also extremely necessary to do so.
 
Suicide is the second leading cause of death for people ages 10 to 34 and it can touch any community at any time. It is important to know the warning signs and what to do if you suspect that your child or someone else that you care about is suicidal. Parents looking for resources to educate themselves on the statistics, warning signs and preventative measures surrounding teen suicide can find them here.
 
In the hope of making suicide prevention more accessible than ever, 988 is a new national emergency phone number that will immediately connect callers to professional crisis support personnel.
 
On Friday, Sept 9, the Wellness Center will be hosting members of the Contra Costa County Office of Education’s Wellness in Schools Program in the front quad. Encourage your student to join us to learn more about suicide prevention and awareness resources as well as participate in fun activities.
 
Kiara Thomas- Wellness Intake Specialist

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Wellness Center

The AHS Wellness team would like to welcome everyone to a new school year! With this new year there have been some changes to the Wellness Center including a new coordinator, Patrick Turner, and new Wellness Center hours.
 
While new to AHS, Patrick/Mr.Turner is not new to the district. He’s been dedicated to supporting the success of students in the district for 5 years as a school counselor at Campolindo. Patrick is a great addition to our team and looks forward to continuing to provide support for students in his new role.
 
Last year, usage of the Wellness Center was extremely successful, which means we were also extremely busy. In hopes of better serving our students, new Wellness Center hours are listed here. By modifying our hours, we are able to collaborate more and increase our programming and planning, which allows us to be proactive in reaching more AHS students.
 
As always, if you know of any AHS students that may need additional mental health support here on campus, please submit a referral to the Wellness Center using this link.
The success of Wellness Centers in our  would not be possible without the continued support of parents, families and community partners. Thanks for all that you do in prioritizing mental health for our students!
 
Kiara Thomas- Wellness Intake Specialist

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Wellness Center

The AHS Wellness team would like to welcome everyone to a new school year! With this new year there have been some changes to the Wellness Center including a new coordinator, Patrick Turner, and new Wellness Center hours.
 
While new to AHS, Patrick/Mr.Turner is not new to the district. He’s been dedicated to supporting the success of students in the district for 5 years as a school counselor at Campolindo. Patrick is a great addition to our team and looks forward to continuing to provide support for students in his new role.
 
Last year, usage of the Wellness Center was extremely successful, which means we were also extremely busy. In hopes of better serving our students, new Wellness Center hours are listed here. By modifying our hours, we are able to collaborate more and increase our programming and planning, which allows us to be proactive in reaching more AHS students.
 
As always, if you know of any AHS students that may need additional mental health support here on campus, please submit a referral to the Wellness Center using this link.
The success of Wellness Centers would not be possible without the continued support of parents, families and community partners. Thanks for all that you do in prioritizing mental health for our students!
 
Kiara Thomas- Wellness Intake Specialist

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Wellness Center

Please check out this Resource Guide for anyone that might need help finding mental health or community resources for their student over the summer and upcoming 2022-2023 school year.
 
Wishing a fun and relaxing summer to the entire Acalanes community! This has been a trying year, but we made it through with each other’s support. Congratulations to the class of 2022 and I’m looking forward to seeing our returning Dons next year!!

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Wellness Center

As the AHS Tobacco Use Prevention Education(TUPE) site coordinator I want to reiterate, one final time this year, the importance of talking to your students about the dangers of tobacco use and vaping. While teenagers have drastically decreased their cigarette and chewing tobacco use in recent years, vaping is still widely used among this demographic. Generally, the odorless, or sometimes even pleasantly scented, vapor makes usage among teens much easier to hide than cigarettes. With usage sometimes occurring in the home or at school without adults ever suspecting it, nicotine is more accessible to teens than ever before.
 
While vaping is often advertised as a safer alternative to smoking it should be noted that vaping is EXTREMELY addictive as nicotine levels of some popular products can be 50 times stronger than cigarettes. Since teen brains are still developing, nicotine addiction in teens has been linked to mood disorders and even damage to parts of the brain responsible for memory, emotion regulation and critical thinking.
 
Through education and awareness it is possible to change tobacco and nicotine outcomes in teens! If you suspect that your teen may be using nicotine or tobacco, a heartfelt conversation about the dangers is a great place to start. If you are interested in quitting resources for your teen, or even for yourself, please visit Truth Initiative for more information.

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Wellness Center

Goodbye ACA community, I'm really going to miss you all. After 4 years at AUHSD, I will be taking a break from school and joining a group therapy practice where I can deepen my work with individual teens, adults, and families.

I want to pass along a successful problem-solving framework I've practiced as a therapist/ adult-peer interacting with teens for 8 hours/day and as a parent of a vivacious and opinionated 10 year old:

  • Allow your kid to re-regulate and find their calm when they are experiencing intense emotions. The techniques are countless (e.g., private space, box-breathing, fidgeting, going outside, music, venting/talking, hugs) and each individual needs to find what works for them.
  • Listen hard and acknowledge the truth in what your kid is saying. Even if you do not agree, there is always a kernel of truth in what they are saying. By identifying their truth, they will feel heard and will allow you to support them.
  • Help connect your kid to a core strength that they identify with and use that to problem-solve. Each person has their own "thing" that they are proud of and motivates them. Accessing this spark serves as an inner compass that they will heed more than any advice we give them.

Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to develop a space at school where our kids can find community, self-advocate for their mental health, and just be the unique individuals they are. If you would like to keep in touch, you can reach me at:  allen@eastbayanxiety.com

All the Best,

Allen Choi, MSW, PPS, JD
Wellness Coordinator

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