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The Teen Health Center, not the other thing

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“I think I got something from him Friday night,” said the concerned teenager. If you relate, the Teen Health Center may be the place for you. Filled to the brim with contraceptives and friendly wisdom from experienced adults, the THC (Teen Health Center) can provide for all of your adolescent needs.

The Nova and Garfield THC is a safe, confidential place where students can receive free mental and medical aid as well as nutritional consulting.

The medical assistance consists of immunizations, sports physical exams, nutrition information, academic concerns, and aid to sports injuries.

Appointments can be made and organized by the nurse coordinators who not only greet those who walk in with a smile, but also are the THC secretaries who make sure things run smoothly for the students as well as the staff.

“Our official title is family service coordinators, this means we schedule and cancel appointments, fax over referrals, write passes for students, keep up with the information on the walls for students to read, give snacks…the whole works,” said family service coordinator Jahtia Benton.

Once appointments have been made, students can consult Miller Sherling, Garfield’s school nurse. Sherling works as a medical librarian for students to come in need of reliable information without diagnosis. This information gives students something to fall back on for future issues that they may face.

“As a nurse I’m allowed to assess, recommend, and council. I can provide information to put at the front of your brain so you can make more informed [choices] that will affect your future,” said Sherling.

Rosie Moore is also on staff for confidential mental health counseling as she focuses on the more personal issues that students will deal with.

“Some of the major topics that come up in my area are depression, anxiety, family problems, friends, and academics,” said Moore.

Along with the knowledge students receive from the school nurse and mental health counselor, students who come in the THC for a snack or other reasons can get mental and physical information from the THC walls. These walls contain numerous posters of information that give students the run down of anything they need to know.

“There’s stuff about mental health, our confidential services such as birth control, suicide prevention, drugs and alcohol and monthly awareness,” said Benton.

One of the goals of the THC staff is to make it a suitable place for all students and teachers to come in any time they need service.

“We want every student and staff member to feel welcome here and feel like we’re here to serve them to connect them with resources even if we don’t have the resources ourselves,” said Sherling.

A contributing factor to the THC is the confidentiality requirement pertaining to emotional situations.

“Being able to confidentially receive information regarding someone’s mental or sexual life is a good thing especially when they aren’t comfortable talking about it with their parents,” said Benton.

The aspect of confidentiality in the provided services makes the THC a more comfortable space for students to discuss and ask questions that they may not want to ask their family.

“The nurse was really nice to me about my anxiety, she was very understanding and didn’t do anything to make it worse,” said student Jonny Sabath

The snacks of the THC attracts hungry teens from all corners of the building.

“I go to the THC a lot and what brings me in is mainly the snacks and the tea,” said tenth grader Khabirah Weddington.

The THC is here for all students when they are in need of anything. The jobs in the THC also include nurse practitioners, nutritionist, and psychiatrist. All it takes is a signed consent form and an appointment.

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