“A reminder to take care of ourselves”: Mental Health Awareness month

Amid the chaos of the end of the year, here’s a quick reminder of the services at your disposal


Meadow Drapala

Mrs. Scapellato has been advocating for students for years at RV

Mrs. Scapellato, Director of Special Services

The month of May conjures thoughts of testing and proms as we push towards June and the promise of summer vacation. May is also a reminder to take care of ourselves with Mental Health Awareness month. This designation of Mental Health Month was actually established in 1949 with the intent to increase awareness of mental wellness. Now, 73 years later, our society’s commitment to mental health continues to grow and evolve. 

Like most schools across the country, mental health has taken on a new focus with students and staff returning to Rancocas Valley after over a year of virtual or hybrid instruction. The National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) identifies schools as the place where much of students’ mental health needs are discovered and where support is most often provided. However, students do not always know how to access those services. 

At RV, we have our school counselors, Child Study Team and Student Assistance Coordinators (SACs) who are here to help our students. 

Mrs. Papenberg, SAC and School Counselor, saw an increase in the number of students who have sought out her support this year. 

“I have met and talked with more students this year who are dealing with depression, anxiety and suicidal ideation, among other mental health issues,” she said.

 This increase, not just at RV but across the country, indicated a need for more support for our students. The Student Wellness Fair, an opportunity for students to meet with different service providers and learn new ways to promote their own mental and physical health, was held in March. 

We also saw the addition of Care Solace, a resource that connects students, staff and families with mental health providers based on the individual’s needs, insurance, and location. This free service, accessible through the RVRHS website, allows families to research on their own or to connect with a “Care Companion” who will do the research for you and connect you with the right mental health provider. 

Mrs. Cvetnich, Student Assistance Counselor at RV, played a pivotal role in bringing Care Solace to Rancocas Valley. 

Care Solace is great for the entire RV community as it quickly, effectively, and efficiently assists individuals with accessing mental health support during these trying post COVID times,” she said. “Care Solace makes all the phone calls with providers and verifies they have openings. They are deemed the ‘Travel Agent’ for mental health counseling services.”

As we continue through the end of the school year, and experience the different highs and lows, excitement and anxieties that come with it, make sure that you are taking care of yourself. Try an app like Calm or Headspace to increase mindfulness. Go for a walk for some valuable vitamin D.

But most importantly, don’t be afraid to ask for help, whether from a friend, family member, school counselor, or using a hotline, such as 1-800-273-TALK (8255). There is always an option available, as long as you are willing to ask.