West Po Clinical Team Helps Students Improve Mental Health


Of interest to those paying attention to the announcement slides during advisory may be West Potomac High School’s “Student/Clinical Team.” The part of the slide show that says who is on the clinical team is out of date and will be updated for next school year. The slide claims they “support mental wellness and are available to talk about academics, anxiety, depression, or other areas in which you may be struggling.” They are available every Tuesday from 3:15 to 4:15 on Google Classroom, though under normal circumstances students come in person.

Ms. McDonough, a school social worker, explained that in addition to herself, the team includes Ms. Heslep, another school social worker, Dr. Runion, a school psychologist, and Dr. Priesmeyer, another school psychologist. Most students who come to the clinical team are referred by either a teacher or their counselor. Most students do not themselves choose to come, but are sent by a teacher or counselor.

There are a variety of reasons why students seek help from the clinical team. The most common reasons for coming during the pandemic include feeling unmotivated, isolated, or depressed, because of lack of motivation and social interaction. In addition to Covid related issues, anxiety, depression, parental relationships, and friendship issues are common. The clinical team discusses various coping skills with students, and if the student’s insurance allows it, may recommend seeking help from a private counselor outside of school. If insurance does not allow it, there are some options in school as well.

Students who seek help from the clinical team are known to experience improvements in grades, attendance, and their overall outlook. Therefore if you think it is right for you, it is recommended to seek help from the clinical team. You can join their meetings on Tuesdays from 3:15 to 4:15, which are held in this classroom.