Page 16 Nestled inside two of Nanaimo Ladysmith Public School’s secondary schools is something you would be hard pressed to find in schools across the country. Fortunately, for John Barsby and NDSS students, they have a wellness centre that offers a safe, familiar setting for youth to access health information and resources. TheoriginalWellnessCentre,locatedatJohnBarsby Community Secondary, is operating in its third year, while the second centre, located at NDSS, has been operating for nearly two years. These centres were the brainchild of local physicians and registered nurses with hopes to assist youth directly in their school. Public Health Clinical Coordinator Erin Kenning was happy to see the program expand into another school. Having the wellness centres located in two central Nanaimo schools can provide immediate care for a greater number of students. Wellness Centre Public Health Nurse Alicia Dewar said, “The Wellness Centre is a place that offers safe, confidential, compassionate care to students.” During the 2016-17 school year, more than 1,000 students accessed the centres, averaging 10 students per day. The varying reasons provide a glimpse into how beneficial the centres are for students to access information and address any health concerns right onsite. Reasons students access the centres may include: • Contraceptives • Illness • Family issues • Bullying • Sprains/broken bones • STI information/testing and treatment • Substance use • Anxiety - School classes - Graduation - The future Wellness Centres Benefit Communities By Shauna DeBodt