Senior emphasizes need for personalized mental health reforms at Lowell

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Letter to the Editor

Dear Editors-in-Chief,

We’ll be taking the annual emotional survey next week—the Student Climate Survey—which made me think about the fact that we’re given more surveys than we are actual face-to-face talks about mental health. In fact, I’ve heard more about the emotional well-being survey than I have about my actual emotional well-being. And even after I took the survey last year, any efforts at reforming have been poorly communicated at best. It feels almost as though the administration is simply handing out surveys to simply appear as though they are attempting to reform, and as a result, I feel as though my personal and individual issues are treated as though they are unimportant.

“I feel as though my personal and individual issues are treated as though they are unimportant.”

It’s impossible to express exactly what I’m feeling when I’m just filling in bubbles on an impersonal piece of paper. The most nuanced I can be when describing my issues on this survey is deciding what to shade my bubbles on questions that ask for scales — forget about detailing the specifics of my emotions. Only machines end up reading our individual answers, and the administration only receives impersonal averages that can’t properly describe the emotional landscape of our school.

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I know that Lowell is a large school, and that the administration needs to find practical ways to hear and understand everyone’s opinion. But I feel like we see more pieces of paper asking us “How do you feel?” than actual adults asking about our well-being. That’s not right. Even if there is the Wellness Center or the option of confiding in teachers, some kids may feel too shy or that their issues are too insignificant. There needs to be more of an actual focus and inquiry into individual emotional health.

We all know that Lowell students are stressed and under pressure, and the surveys are a good first step towards addressing that issue. But this can’t be the only action visible to students, and if the administration is working on new changes, please communicate this to the students. Let us know if there will be reforms or new programs. Let us know so that we can help to give insight. Let us know that our voices are being heard.

-Hannah Liu, Class of 2017

Editor’s note: This letter refers to San Francisco United School District’s Annual Social Emotional Learning and Culture-Climate Survey taken in February to evaluate students’ well-beings at school. The Wellness Center gave no comment.