Ardenne’s health and wellness centre to assist with remedial behaviour
CONCERNED about the increasing mental health challenges faced by students, Ardenne High School in Kingston will be constructing a health and wellness centre to improve pupils’ well-being.
The project, which is being built with the assistance of the Ardenne Alumni Foundation, is expected to cost approximately $60 million.
It will include other components such as a reception and waiting area, three offices for guidance counsellors, two counselling rooms, nurse’s station, student lounge, students and staff sick bays and associated wash rooms, and a multipurpose roof terrace.
Principal of Ardenne High School Nadine Molloy told the Jamaica Observer that the facility will provide the well-needed privacy for staff and students to engage in mental health activities such as counselling.
“I know that will be a plus, with the kind of ambience we plan to create here. We want the persons operating out of this space to be aware of the latest developments, trends, applications we can use in terms of helping people to be well — whether it is physically or mentally,” said Molloy following the ground-breaking ceremony for the centre on Wednesday.
“In this world we operate in now, mental health has become even more important. We are more aware and we are more focused on it, and so this space will definitely give us an opportunity to provide that service in an optimal way. I am so grateful to all the persons who are contributing to this — the students, all categories of staff,” she added.
Chair of the Ardenne Alumni Foundation Flo Darby said the project is expected to be completed within a year.
“It is going to be extremely important because already we are seeing where people including teachers — the whole community — [are] suffering after what happened with COVID-19. It affected people mentally,” said Darby.
She explained that the health and wellness centre will offer additional help in improving students’ behaviour.
“For a long time we have tried to help our students who run into trouble. Rather than expel them, we want to help to be reformed. Based on who we have as guidance counsellors and so on is just not enough for us to cater to the needs of those who have issues and need help. It has been a long time coming,” she added.
In a release, the school said it has a sick bay with limited space that accommodates its over-2000 student population. It also mentioned that while there has been an increase in the guidance department to three makeshift offices at the back of the school’s auditorium, the space is still inadequate and lacks privacy for guidance counsellors to conduct their duties.