Grief counseling, which is offered at Mira Costa, is a free service provided to students and the community to those who need help dealing with their grief after a traumatic event. Even though the grief counseling at Costa is not a popular resource amongst all students, it is still an extremely important resource to have available on campus in order for students, staff and the community to have reliable counselors who will listen to them in times of need.
On the Monday following the Las Vegas shooting, half of Costa’s counselors went to Manhattan Beach Middle School in order to help middle school students with their grief, as one of the victims of the massacre, Sandy Casey, was a Special Education teacher at MBMS.
Costa’s grief counseling staff is composed of school psychologists Felicia Perkins and Janet Allen, as well as the guidance counselors. The counselors used their resources to help the community and handled the situation well. During times when the grief counselors are needed, students are made aware that the counselors are available to talk. The counselors hold grief counseling in the gym, and students that find it necessary can visit them.
If the grief counseling services are in high demand, Costa asks therapists from the Beach Cities Health District to come to Costa to help counsel students, Costa guidance counselor Jennifer Wildenberg said. This ensures that there will always be an adult on campus to meet the needs of students. It is evident that with recent and past events, grief counselors at Costa are crucial to make sure Costa remains a safe and secure environment, as well as to reduce stress as a whole on campus.
The grief counseling staff also work throughout the year to help students with individual tragedies that may call for grief counseling. When student deaths have occured at Costa in years past, the grief counselors have been available to students. Additionally, if there is an emotional emergency during the summer, the counselors are able to come in and help students as well as community members deal with their grief. The grief counseling services benefit not only Costa students and staff, but the community at large by ensuring that the South Bay as a whole is trained professionals to guide them when they may need help.
According to a La Vista survey of 200 students, 3% of students have used Costa’s grief counseling and 2% of students said it helped them cope with their situation. While this is a very small percentage of the student body, it highlights that having grief counselors available for students does impact students on campus, even if the number of students who have benefitted is small.
Having grief counselors available for students and staff during the recent and past events related to Costa allows students to feel comfortable on campus.