The Urban Legend

The School Newspaper of Urban School of San Francisco

The Urban Legend

The School Newspaper of Urban School of San Francisco

The Urban Legend

Urban Unravelling: The importance of therapy and self-help at Urban


TW: talk of suicide and depression 


From chatting casually about academic struggles to working through crises, all Urban students are entitled to talk with and receive help from School Counselors Amina Samake and Joey Mintz. 

Urban’s counseling team is taking on more and more responsibilities as mental health diagnoses among minors have continued to rise, according to the 2022 National Healthcare Quality and Disparities Report from the National Library of Medicine. 

 “Mental disorders among children are described as serious changes in the way children typically learn, behave or handle their emotions, causing distress and problems getting through the day,” according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 

As students need support, it’s the job of Samake and Mintz to step in. “As therapist[s], we listen and then we help [the student] work through [the problem] by asking questions that maybe they don’t necessarily think of themselves or have the space [outside of school] to talk about,” said Samake. 

There are differences between therapy at Urban versus seeking a therapist at an external facility. For students with financial or privacy considerations, Samake believes that counselors at Urban are a great option. 

“When I think about Urban and the counseling department … [students] can get two people who are in-house, who know the culture of the school and the rigor of the classes. [We know] the kind of energy and the different things [people] are facing.” 

However, being in an academic setting comes with its drawbacks. “When you’re at school, we really want to be careful to not fully open Pandora’s Box, because folks have class after,” said Samake. “We’re [often] doing crisis management or helping someone move through a situation so that they’re able to get through their day.”

Counseling services can provide not only conventional therapy sessions but also a safe space to draw, listen to music or rest on a couch. “You get to dictate what works for you, it doesn’t have to look one way,” said Samake. “It’s being able to have a space that feels comfortable and safe for you and then being able to talk about whatever might be on your mind.” 

Other Urban faculty also support students by referring them to Urban’s counseling services. Charlotte Worsley, dean of student life, said, “If a teacher or anybody is talking to a student and they feel like [the student] might benefit from talking to the school counselor, they ask the student, ‘Do you think [counseling] will be helpful?’”

However, Worsley has found that students feel tentative to reach out to counseling. “For lots of reasons, [students think] that it might be easier if the school counselor reaches out to them,” she said. “When the school counselor does reach out, there’s [less] pressure [than initiating a session yourself].” 

Samake believes that succeeding in the Urban environment requires taking a step back in the company of counselors or a teacher you trust. “We know the pace of Urban. It’s fast … It’s like every minute there’s something to do, so in [a] perfect world, I wish [for] things to slow down just a little bit,” she said. “Just take a deep breath and find someone to talk to.”

About the Contributor
Riley Young
Riley Young, Editor in Chief, Creative