In The Corner of Your Mind


Maleah Fennessey

The sign outside of the Corner.

Maleah Fennessey, Staff Writer, Co-Editor

The difficulties that Coronavirus has presented the world with have taken a toll on many people. The quarantine, lockdown, violence, injustice and worry about becoming ill have caused many people to feel isolated mentally, too. To help students, McAuliffe administration and partners have decided to create a special space called the Corner.

It may not be the biggest concern in the news right now, but other California schools were already instituting centers for students’ mental wellness. Administrators seem to understand the cause of rising mental illness and are taking action to protect the sanity and even lives of their students. More young people have reported feeling depression, anxiety or both since the start of the pandemic more than adults have!

McAuliffe’s Corner is funded by the Orange County Department of Education and the Children’s Hospital of Orange County. However, Mrs. Shelby Olmstead, the school counselor, is managing the opening of the Corner at McAuliffe, among many other responsibilities. She says the motivation behind it is to “support [the] mental health of students and staff.” As soon as it is opened, it will be open all school day for students to come in. It is designed to be a space where students (and even staff) can talk about their problems or simply take a breather and recharge. 

Some of the features the Corner will offer include counseling, both group and individual, mental health awareness activities and a device with breathing exercises that is designed to help slow down and direct focus to the breath to effectively reduce anxiety. Additionally, there will be calming games to act as a distraction and a paint station.

In addition to these types of activities, Olmstead encourages anyone experiencing a mental health problem to find ways to take care of themselves. This doesn’t just mean the basics, such as sleep, exercise and healthy eating, though these are very important; this statement also extends to activities like favorite hobbies, taking time to relax during the day and staying connected to loved ones. “I also recommend that students take a break from social media and their technology,” she advises. Any student that has done virtual learning knows what happens when you spend too much time on screens. 

Hopefully, the Corner will be a part of McAuliffe for many years to come and help many overcome their struggles. But for now, remember that no matter how alone you feel, there will always be someone out there who can help.