Virtual relaxation room helps Inglewood students and families with mental health

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INGLEWOOD, Calif. (KABC) – Stigmatizations around mental health are starting to change as more people become willing to talk about wellness and self-care.

“Given the turmoil over the past year, maybe the last few years, I think students, and just everyone in general, have learned to talk about everything more,” said Scott Bastian, director of student affairs for the Inglewood Unified School District.

With students and families in mind, Morningside High School in Inglewood and the Los Angeles County of Education have teamed up to create the Calming Room. It’s free to anyone who needs it.

“We wanted the Calming Room to be a place where people could really focus on receiving and initiating self-care,” said Janice Barnes, community school specialist for the Los Angeles County Office of Education (LACOE).

The Calming Room is a virtual resource, accessible from the Morningside High School home page, that provides tools for promoting wellbeing and resilience. It offers tips, activities and resources related to relaxation, healthy eating, fitness and more.

“When the quarantine began, I had a lot of things on my mind that would stress me most of the time,” said Ines Cuenca, a 10th grade student at Morningside High School. “But once in the calming room it helped me get these thoughts out of my head.”

According to a national child mental health survey by CS Mott Children’s Hospital, 46% of parents said they had seen signs of new or worsening mental illness in their teenagers since the pandemic began in March 2020.

“It is difficult for us as adults during a pandemic,” said Claudin De La Torre, educational community worker at LACOE. “So we have to put ourselves in the situation that the children are going through.”

Anyone can use the Calming Room at Morningside High School website and click on Resources.

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