With an indefinite end to virtual school, mental health has become a big topic of conversation. As counselor Nicholas Bernbeck puts it, mental health needs to be talked about in regards to not only students, but also teachers and staff members.
Bernbeck continues to care for students’ needs, but the hardest thing for him is the fact that he can’t help students in all the ways he used to.
“Not being with my students is challenging, especially seeing how not doing my job the same way as before has impacted them,” Bernbeck said. “I see students struggling, and typically I’d be able to call their teacher and have them come down to my office, as opposed to now when I send a Zoom meeting, they may or may not show up. There are things that are out of my control that make it more challenging to be able to motivate or encourage my students.”
According to Bernbeck, it’s important for all staff members to recognize that the resources available to students are available to them as well.
“Know that you can reach out to the mental health staff here because counselors, social workers and psychologists are all here to support the staff as well,” Bernbeck said. “Reach out to us if you feel your mental health slipping and be open, whether it’s talking to us or reaching out to an outside therapist.”
Bernbeck said that he tries his best to practice what he preaches as a counselor. He has been more flexible and has found himself adjusting his schedule to get his work done but also have time to take a break.
“I am certainly keeping organized, creating a schedule for myself and sticking to it,” Bernbeck said. “I make sure all of my duties are done but also that I am taking care of myself by going for walks, exercising, being outside or reading. If you’re not taking care of yourself, you can’t find the time to dedicate to help your students.”