During this time of COVID, the Extraordinary Teen Council felt it was important to promote their Teen Wellness Voucher, as many teens are experiencing mental health issues related to stress and feelings of isolation.  

The council has worked on the Teen Wellness Voucher for two years now. The voucher was created in partnership with Solvista Health and Family and Youth Initiatives.

It is good for two free one-hour visits with a Solvista counselor at no cost to the student. The council which consists of all teenagers, understands how difficult it is to be an adolescent.

When asked why mental health support for teens was important, Salida High School junior Maya Vallevona said, “I think mental health for teenagers is very important because as teens we have a lot of pressures in our social and educational lives. Having a good foundation helps to keep us level headed and well-balanced.”

Another junior, Alicia Hesselton, said, “As teens we often don’t know how to handle the stress within school and family life. If we don’t have sources of support that are offered, many times we find other, unhealthy, ways of coping.  Many adults don’t realize or remember the amount of pressure put on teenagers.”

Addressing mental health issues is more important than ever, especially with the changes we are facing right now during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The isolation and fear created by the pandemic and the measures we are taking in order to stop it play directly into many mental health challenges.

The main goal of the voucher is to let kids like us know that it is OK to need and seek help.  

With all of the pressures of school, worldwide events and other activities, sometimes you just need someone to talk to.

We also recognized the need to reduce the existing stigma surrounding mental health and treatment. You would readily tell someone if you were going to the doctor for a sore throat, why do we hide going to see a counselor? Reach out to SolVista Mental Health at 719-539-6502 (teens 12 and older do not need parent permission, per state law).

*Please note that funding for additional counseling sessions at Solvista Health is available if needed through a generous Public Health grant.

Jessie Rollins is a Salida High School Junior and Extraordinary Teen Council member.

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