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The Smoke Signal

New PV Wellness Center aims to provide comfort, counseling to students

Casey Lewis, Staff Writer

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PV's new Wellness Center is designed to be a relaxing environment.

A coffee machine sits on a countertop in the back. In the middle, two couches and multiple armchairs are situated around a coffee table. And in the corner, individual pods with counter space are available for studying,

Comfortability is the goal at Pascack Valley’s new Wellness Center, which opened with the start of the new school year last Thursday.

The Wellness Center, located adjacent to the lower cafeteria, is designed to help students deal with the stress that comes with high school. It provides a central location to address, discuss, and improve the mental health of students. Student Assistant Counselor Christie Rossig and School and Family Liaison/School Psychologist Stephen Myers, whose offices are located inside of the center, are charged with managing the facility.

We want students to deal with stress in a healthy way, rather than resorting to other methods.”

— PV Principal Tom DeMaio

“Students will never not have stress,” said Pascack Valley Principal, Mr. Tom Demaio. “But we want students to deal with stress in a healthy way, rather than resorting to other methods.”

According to Rossig, the most important feature of the Wellness Center is the waiting room. Her previous office was located in the main hallway, leaving students in an uncomfortable position when they would have to wait outside.

For this reason, designing a comfortable waiting room was a key priority when making the new Wellness Center. Students have the opportunity to decompress or study while waiting for their meetings.

“I’m just really excited for kids to have a place to unplug for a little bit and refocus themselves,” Rossig said.

Additionally, students have the option to make an online appointment at the Wellness Center with either Rossig or Myers. Students can find a website labeled “PV Wellness Appointment” in the “pascack.k12.nj.us Bookmarks” folder in their favorites bar. This links to a Google Form which prompts students to fill out a time, date, and possible reason for a visit.

PV students can now access the Wellness Center website from their bookmarks.

PV students can now access the Wellness Center website from their bookmarks.

Aside from the new responsibilities that come with the Wellness Center, Rossig’s role has not changed much, as she is still specializing in substance abuse and providing support for students in need of help. Her primary responsibilities in this position are prevention, intervention, and then referral.

Myers is facing big changes in his new role at the Wellness Center. In his previous position, he mainly provided counseling support for kids in the PARK Program, a small self-contained program for students who have Individualized Education Programs (IEPs). This year, he is involved in the Intervention Referral Services (IRS Committee) and will be working with the general student population, specifically focusing on suicide prevention.

One of the biggest challenges facing the Wellness Center will be garnering attention from the students. Since Myers has primarily worked with PARK students in the past, he is mostly unknown to the general population at Pascack Valley.

“One of the big challenges is making sure people are aware of who I am,” Myers said.

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Pascack Valley High School's Official News Site: Where there's smoke, there's fire.
New PV Wellness Center aims to provide comfort, counseling to students