District Welcomes Psychologist
February 26, 2021
Zachary Demien was hired as a district psychologist in late September.
Since he has been hired, Demien feels the Southern community “…truly cares about their students and wants to do what is best for every student in the district, and I am glad I get to be a part of that.”
This is his second position as a school psychologist, previously working at Northeastern School District.
Demien’s days never entail the same thing.
“Some weeks I spend a lot of time with students working on assessments,” said Demien. “Other weeks, I spend the majority of my time in my office writing reports or attending meetings to discuss students and how to support them.”
Lauren Hoffman, another school psychologist who works in special education, appreciates Demien’s positivity.
“Zack has been a great addition to the team here at Southern,” said Hoffman. “We had a decent number of applicants for the school psychologist position, [and he] was the best fit for the job.”
Demien, Hoffman on Student Mental Health during the Pandemic
During this pandemic, entering into the school year has taken a toll on many students’ mental health.
Both Hoffman and Demien proposed advice for students who may be struggling.
Hoffman urges students to be aware of their health and live in the present, one day at a time.
“Try and reframe your perspective…make self-care more important,” said Hoffman. “My other piece of advice is to focus on what your needs are at this moment.”
Demien also agrees that self care is more important than ever.
“My advice to students through all this is to remember to take care of your mental health,” said Demien. “Remember to do things that you enjoy doing, whether it be exercising, reading, drawing, or catching up on your favorite TV show. Those things are important to your mental health…”
Social media has played a major role in taking a toll on students’ mental health.
Both Demien and Hoffman wish students would start to abstain from media, explaining how people are more focused on their public image now than their own health.
“There is an old adage that ‘Comparison is the thief of joy,’” said Hoffman. “Stop comparing yourself to your peers… on social media, or in real life. Everyone is different, and you don’t always get to see the struggle that people go through. Focus on yourself.”
Demien shares a similar perspective on the issue.
“While asking students to completely abstain from social media is not a realistic ask, trying to limit the time spent on it and the impact it has on a student’s sense of self-worth could go a long way in helping improve student mental health,” said Demien.
Both Hoffman and Demien want it to be known that if any students and staff need help and support with anything, don’t hesitate to reach out.