emotional & mental health
Since Covid necessitated closing schools, the experience of being isolated from peers, taking classes via Zoom without in person interaction, losing access to the refuge that school sometimes is, and facing an unknown future has generated a national mental health crisis among students. Here in Berkeley there are some important resources available for Berkeley’s public high school students and their families
BHS Health Center e-portal for mental health counseling referrals
The City of Berkeley provides services for high school students that are free and confidential, and available to all BHS-BIS- BTA, and students. Through this portal, parents and guardians can refer their children, and students can refer themselves or their friends. In the State of California, minors 12 and older can consent to their own mental health treatment and counseling services, under certain circumstances.
Know that once a referral is made, BHS does not receive any follow-up information.
Warm Line 510-981-5240
The Warm Line is a phone-based mental health resource provided by the BHS Health Center for BHS-BIS-BTA students that is operated by licensed mental health clinicians. Services are available in English and Spanish during the COVID-19 pandemic and include mental health and coping skills, support for anxiety, depression, stress, and other mental health needs. Short term counseling typically runs 3-5 sessions. Long term counseling is limited by availability and is based on clinical need, insurance status, and other extenuating circumstances; linkage and referrals to other community services and mental health providers
It is available; 9am-4pm M-F (except school and City of Berkeley holidays).
Students - you can self-refer for mental health counseling services by calling the Warm Line to access direct phone support and also schedule future appointments.
Parents & Guardians - you can call for consultation or to refer a student for services or follow-up.
After making a referral, the Health Center staff will outreach to the student directly by phone. If possible, please provide the student's cell phone number.
Berkeley Mobile Crisis Team &
Police Department for emergency situations
The Mobile Crisis Team’s Service Days:
S-M-W-Th-F from 11:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
Note that the Mobile Crisis Team is not available on Tuesdays and Saturdays. On these days
call Phone (510) 981-5900 (Police Non-emergency 24 hrs.) or (510) 981-5254 (Voice message)
Berkeley High Counselors 2020-2021 Resource Page
Tips for Mental Health and Wellness
Intervention Counselor Jasdeep Malhi, along with other counselors, is on the frontlines helping students and families. The following is a list of strategies she has developed with the other intervention counselors to help students find a sense of balance during stressful times.
Allow yourself some down time to do nothing related to screens- Students are spending a lot of time on computers these days and then when they are done, they tend to hop on their phones. Give your eyes a change of scenery, even shut them to take a nap, but take a break from screens.
Go for a walk and get some fresh air.- Living in the Bay Area has been a gift during this pandemic. Take a walk, get some fresh air, and remember to wear a mask and keep your distance.
Listen to/make some music- Music is a key part to many of our lives. Develop a new playlist, listen to your favorite songs or if you have it in you, write some songs or play an instrument!
Play with a younger sibling/kid. Younger children are having a real hard time with the social isolating so give yourself a break and play with a younger child. They will give you so much love for even 15-20 minutes of attention. You don’t need anything fancy- just remember the good old games- Duck Duck Goose, Head Shoulders Knees and Toes and of course singing “The Wheels on the Bus Go Round and Round!
If possible, go somewhere near the water, Berkeley Marina, Alameda Beach and sit by the ocean. Water has tremendous healing powers on the mind, nerves and overall wellness. On that same note, make sure you drinking enough water a day and staying hydrated!
Get creative in the kitchen and bake something/ cook something and then eat it:) There’s something very satisfying of having control over some aspect of our lives. Cooking is one way to have an end product you can see and then enjoy!
Take a shower/bath every day and get “dressed” for school (at least 2-3 days a week). Students and even us staff have gotten used to “casual dress” for school. Mix up your wardrobe routine by getting dressed for school and sitting up when you are in class.
Talk with a counselor- Your guidance counselors, college advisors, intervention counselors and therapists are available to schedule meeting with you via zoom. They can meet during lunch or afterschool- send them an email and schedule an appointment today!
Mindful moments- Remember to take deep breaths in and out and have some moments of peace and quiet in your day.
Find a show to watch with a friend on Netflix- then have a zoom date to talk about it later!
Reach out to any BHS staff if you need support or know someone who does! We are all in this together and hear for you!
PTSA Shared Voices
On occasion, prior to its meetings, the PTSA sends out a questionnaire to get a sampling of parent experiences and to provide parents, and now students, with an opportunity to be heard.
January 2021 Distance Learning Questionnaire Question:
How has distance learning affected you (or your child’s) mental and emotional well being?
March 2019 Student Anxiety Questionnaire Question:
Would you like to share your experience?
These responses called out the absence of a clear path for BHS parents to follow when their child’s anxiety necessitated school action. Hopefully how the Covid pandemic has mobilized BHS's responsiveness to the mental health needs of students will have a lasting impact and when students return to campus there will be clear paths to address students' emotional and mental health needs.