SCCC’s School-Based Program – counselor Lindsay Sullivan’s perspective

Each year, the School-Based Program here at SCCC provides mental health services for about 100 LAUSD students. Faced with constant budget cuts, schools are often forced to eliminate mental health services, and these students may not otherwise have access to much-needed counseling. Our counselors have the opportunity to be a consistent presence in a student’s life, and this resource can be life-changing, as Lindsay speaks to below:

“This year I had the incredible opportunity to work as a counselor at a local high school in Los Angeles. The teenagers in our communities face challenges that are overwhelming in scope—in addition to the pressures of grades and social struggles, the kids I saw were also navigating the foster care system; dealing with the realities of being undocumented or living in homes with undocumented parents; facing racial inequities, past sexual abuse and trauma, and managing anxiety and depression disorders.

Yet with all of their challenges, I marvel at how much resilience, joy, and forgiveness these teens were capable of showing. One student who suffers from extreme anxiety was able to find ways to integrate art, mindfulness techniques and somatic interventions (the butterfly tap!) to help regulate her anxiety at home and school. Another boy used therapy to express all of the fear, disappointment, and sadness he could otherwise not show in his daily life. By the end of the school year he was able to express to his parents how much pain he was feeling and elicit more help and support at home.

I have learned that teenagers are some of the best clients a therapist can have. All of my teens were self-referred, meaning they chose to spend their time once a week in counseling. Each student showed up open, vulnerable and committed to better understanding themselves and the world around them. It was not always an easy task, however it was certainly the most rewarding. There is no better way to directly impact our communities than to listen to the hearts and minds of our teenagers and offer the compassion, skills, and encouragement they need to become unique, powerful, and healthy members of our beautifully diverse and shared city of Los Angeles.”

Lindsay Sullivan, M.A.

MFT Intern #92849

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