Volume 15, Issue 76  |  September 22, 2023SubscribeAdvertise

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LBHS students use peer mentorship to foster connections and encourage open conversations about mental health

In recognition of Suicide Prevention Month in September, the Laguna Beach High School (LBHS) Peer Mentor Program has planned several activities throughout the month to promote healthy coping strategies, normalize conversations about mental health, and increase awareness and access to 24/7 resources available at school and online.

Now in its third year, the Peer Mentor Program is a year-round student club that begins with rigorous three-day training in the summer held by the LBHS counseling team where Peer Mentors learn about warning signs and risk factors for mental health concerns among their peers. The training prepares students to be positive leaders on campus, covering topics including active listening, self-care, assertive communication, healthy boundary setting, confidentiality and the evidence based QPR (question, persuade, refer) method for responding to suicidal ideation.

LBHS students group

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of LBUSD

Laguna Beach High School Peer Mentors welcome new students, including ninth graders and students new to the district, during a lunchtime event designed to welcome new students and foster connections between school staff and student leaders

“The Peer Mentor Program provides an invaluable resource to all students here at LBHS who need support but may not feel comfortable accessing their counselor or another staff member initially – leaving a gap in support and connection for students who may need it,” said LBHS Student Support Specialist Megan Humphreys. “We find that these students are oftentimes more comfortable talking to a peer for support, which is what makes the Peer Mentor program such an asset to our community. Peer Mentors are trained in how to support their peers and knowing when to refer for additional support by connecting with the counseling team and Peer Mentor Advisors. Our hope is that through the Peer Mentor program, every student on campus knows there is hope and help available to them,” she concluded.

Since the start of the program, the Peer Mentors have hosted Wellness Wednesday events every month, including “Coloring in the Quad,” “Stress Succs – Succulent Planting,” and “Destress before the Test Yoga/Mindfulness,” just to name a few. The group will host bracelet-making with positive affirmation reminders during lunchtime this month. On September 26, students will have the option to attend an informational presentation about mental health and warning signs of distress.

“Across the nation today, we are beginning to realize the vast importance of mental health awareness, and the peer mentor program at Laguna Beach High School is an exemplary resource that aims to provide support from student-to-student (rather than solely student to faculty), which serves as an innovative way to promote mental well-being at the communal level,” said Peer Mentor Carter McKinzie.

On September 26, LBUSD will host a lunchtime ribbon-cutting ceremony with students to commemorate the opening of the new LBHS Well Space on campus designed to provide a calm and safe place for students to reset and seek counseling support.

Follow the LBHS Peer Mentors on Instagram @lbhspeermentors to learn more about the program and student events that raise awareness and encourage connections.


Shaena Stabler, President & CEO - Shaena@StuNewsLaguna.com

Lana Johnson, Editor - Lana@StuNewsLaguna.com

Tom Johnson, Publisher - Tom@StuNewsLaguna.com

Dianne Russell is our Associate Editor.

Michael Sterling is our Webmaster & Designer.

Mary Hurlbut and Scott Brashier are our photographers.

Alexis Amaradio, Dennis McTighe, Marrie Stone, Sara Hall, Suzie Harrison and Theresa Keegan are our writers and/or columnists.

In Memoriam - Stu Saffer and Barbara Diamond.

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