Titan voices mend matters

Avalon Kate Nash, Staff Writer

Stressed, suppressed, and in distress. The results for this year’s Mending Matters student survey were recently released, offering insight into the good and bad aspects of the student experience on campus. Responses were collected voluntarily in homerooms during October. A total of 670 students, just over a fourth of Titans participated.
The survey is part of the district-sponsored program’s efforts to better understand and cater to student needs on campus. The organization has been working with PUSD for two years, and it aims to provide unobstructed access to therapeutic services. On campus it operates through full time counselor Edgard Watson and a group of eight student representatives, dubbed “LIFE Ambassadors,” with LIFE standing for Living Is For Everyone.
“We are a nonprofit that works jointly with school districts. Our goal is to support students through mental health services such as individual, and group therapy, programs, and presentations,” Watson said. Some of the most surprising statistics included the fact that 69% of Titans claimed to know someone their age who had been in a toxic/unhealthy relationship. The statement alarmed some parents, but students seemed unsurprised.
“I don’t find it that shocking, and I think it reveals a lot about teenage culture in general. Toxic relationships are a lot more common than people think because of the way that they have been normalized….unhealthy relationships have always been around, but I am glad at least that we are starting to talk about them,” junior Emerson Karam said.
Of the results the most resoundingly agreed upon statements related to identity, with 80% of students saying they had hidden their identity for fear of judgment, and 88% of students saying they had pretended to be OK when they were not.
Junior and LIFE Ambassador Emily Nakamura, who helped create the video of results says she relates to the majority of the respondents. Nakamura was partially inspired by her own mental health struggles to become involved with the work of Mending Matters.
“I have dealt with my own mental health challenges, and it’s really hard to balance self care and academics. I wanted to be a part of an organization like Mending Matters, so I could be that resource for other students that I never had,” Nakamura said.
But who is the culprit behind all these stressed students? School was chosen as the top stressor by 59% of survey participants. The survey results were unveiled in a video now posted on the Counseling Canvas under the title “Poway We Hear YOUth Reflection Video.”
With the results, LIFE ambassadors are planning to conduct a presentation to school staff and teachers, so they can discuss ways to improve the mental well being of the student body.