Counseling for HS seniors

Stress of post-graduation choices

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  • Mary Helen Kellam

By Rose Sgarlato

- It’s that time of year again when high school seniors are feeling the pressure. Will they go to college locally or go away? Will they take off a year and maybe work?

Not every senior is alike and what works for someone may not for another. Decisions are thrust upon them in an extremely costly and competitive society affecting their immediate futures. The entire ordeal especially the college application process can be overwhelming for both students and parents. Being mindful of the pressure and getting ahead of the anxiety may help.

Mary Helen Kellam, owner of Mindful Living Counseling, is offering some relief –a six-week course for high school seniors that will help them manage the stress.

“Mindfulness Mondays” begins Monday, Oct.2 from 7 to 8:15 pm at Kellam’s Sparta office at 17 Woodport Road. In addition to her private practice, Kellam a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) is also a guidance counselor at Mount Olive High School in Mount Olive, where this course has been integrated into the curriculum.

“Transitioning outside of high school can be tough causing distraction, lack of sleep and time management issues,” Kellam said. “Based on what I see as a school counselor, I wanted to do a project addressing this, so I chose to do a mindfulness program.”

The pilot program was used in select classrooms twice a month and had great feedback from teachers and students, said Kellam. Using psycho-educational experience, students are taught skills to help cope.

“Strategies such as deep breathing, imagery, distress tolerance, grounding exercises and changing one’s thought are some of the skills that will be taught,” Kellam said. “This will help kids who are not going to college also. The goal of the six-week course is to take what they have learned and apply it to their everyday life that will benefit them as they prepare for college and career readiness.”

“Mindfulness Mondays” is for high school seniors only. It runs Oct. 2 through Nov.7 from 7 to 8:15 pm. The cost is $240 for six weeks and space is limited. Registration deadline is Sept. 22. Go to

Call Mary Helen Kellam at 201-317-4539 with any questions.

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