Plans for a New Mental Health Room at City High


Jennie Gidal

Students can find out more information about mental health services from their guidance counselor.

Jennie Gidal, Reporter

As students attend school from their homes and some attend hybrid in-person classes, the annual stress of keeping up their GPA creeps in with looming deadlines. Students and staff have had increasing concerns about the mental health of the City High community. The new NESTT (Navigating Emotions and Stress Through Training) room at City High aims to help students work through their mental health at school. 

“We have students who miss class due to mental health issues,” Doug Lestina said. “We all as teachers and counselors believe that the more time a student can be in class, the better off that they’re going to be.”

The ICCSD Foundation granted $11,000 for the new space. With construction and COVID-19 going on, there have been some delays with the room, for now they are looking for a temporary space at City, but eventually, there will be a room designated for NESTT.

“Due to the construction, the NESTT won’t be up and running until the first part of November,” Kahle said. “Once it is running, it will be open all day during school hours.”

For students taking all-online courses, the team has set up a City High NESTT website with many resources for students and teachers to use. It provides links to calming music, live animal cameras, and guided practice for breathing and relaxation. Along with hotlines and therapy resources on the City High NESTT website.

“There will be quiet spaces, options to have music, options to play games, and then also options to talk with other students and peers and teachers who might be able to help them with some of their problems,” Lestina said. “We’ll have some cameras, where we could put the camera in a class if that class is causing anxiety and so they could just view the class, but be alone and do the work.”

Running NESTT along with Doug Lestina is Amy Kahle, Thos Trefz, and Mary Peterson who will supervise the room. 

“We know that many students have mental health concerns that sometimes interfere with school and class. The goal of the NESTT is to have a centralized space at City High where students can go to take a break and work on skills that will help them be successful in and out of the classroom,” Kahle said. “We will also have interns at various times of the year and City High faculty and staff have also volunteered to hang out in the NESTT and work with students.”