The SM Wellness Center is Ready and Available to Help


Bella Escobar, Staff Member

According to the World Health Organization, at least one in four people deal with mental health issues in their lifetime.  Mental health is something that many people feel afraid or hesitant to speak up about, even though it is just as important as our physical health.  Here in San Marino, Mrs. Tonya El-Hendi is the wellness center counselor, along with interns Emily Marmolejo and Berenice Fernandez. Their goal is to help students feel safe and comfortable talking about mental health.

The Wellness Center is not like a nurse’s office, it’s strictly meant to help students receive “social, emotional and wellness support.”  Berenice Fernandez describes exactly what her role is in the wellness center and what it provides for students,”we are trying to keep everyone on track of their wellness, because this virtual setting can be very hard for students. We try to come up with the best way to go about it, like weekly Friday check ins, different workshops, parent resources, mental health links, and suicide prevention resources. We also have a student referral system, where a student can get help from one of us confidentially if they feel like they need assistance,” she said.

The interns in the wellness emphasize the confidentiality of the wellness center, everything that is discussed there is meant to be kept private and not shared with anyone, since this can be personal information.

Even though some students may not feel like they’re struggling mentally, it is still recommended that they refer themselves into the wellness center to ensure that they keep track of their mental health and keep it as healthy as it can be.

“Our main goal is to be able to support the needs of the students.” says Fernandez, when asked about the roles each of the interns have in the wellness center. El-Hendi also adds, “My number one job is to create an environment where students feel comfortable and where they can reach out and know that it’s confidential.” She also mentions how they have been working on perfecting the student referral system and also educating parents as well as students on the importance of mental health.

When asked what piece of advice they would give to students, Fernandez responded, “ I feel that we have to let students know that there are other resources available…it’s a good place to come and just allow students to know how they feel no matter what. We just want to support no matter what.”

It’s very clear that the new interns here at the wellness center are very knowledgeable and welcoming. It’s important that students are aware of who they will be talking to when they come to the wellness center. To go more in-depth, Ms. Berenice Fernandez is dedicating her time to the wellness center while also being a student at Cal State LA.  She also loves to spend time with her new kitten that she was able to rescue, along with her other cat and dog. Ms. Emily Marmolejo is very creative, she loves to paint and cook and create new things, while also watching Netflix in her free time.  

The two interns in the Wellness Center want to make it clear that they are here to support the students and encourage them to visit the wellness center whenever they may feel like they need some support.  More information on the Wellness Center can be found at: