• Home games this week: Tues., 4/16: Tennis v. Rio Grande @ 3:30 p.m. / Tues., 4/16: Softball v. SF Indian School @ 3 & 5 p.m. / Thurs., 4/18: Baseball v. Robertson @ 3 & 5 p.m. / Sat., 4/20: Softball v. Manzano @10 a.m. & noon.
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Teen Health Center: Free, Confidential, and HERE

Teen+Health+Center%3A+Free%2C+Confidential%2C+and+HERE

The Teen Health Center is a health service that Santa Fe Public School offers to all teens,  in Santa Fe and beyond.

The THC, located outside the bottom of the academic building on the southwest side of Santa Fe High School, provides confidential services for “teens who don’t want to tell their parents about birth control, condoms, sexually transmitted disease testing, and more,” according to Crystal Mae, a THC staff member.

One function of the THC is the distribution of free contraceptives.

Along with the physical health services they provide, such as administering sports physicals, the THC provides therapy for teens who are struggling with their mental health. They offer different types of therapies, including client-centered therapy, art therapy, and game therapy. If teens are struggling with depression, THC staff can direct them to a different provider for further treatment and can prescribe antidepressants. 

Dillian Sosa, an SFHS senior, shared that she had trouble dealing with stress; however, once she started going to therapy at the THC, she has been doing better. She said, “It’s helped me deal with stress in a healthy way and taught me to have a better thought process and how to be calm in stressful situations.” 

Another SFHS student, Luis Carlos Flores, got his sports physical at the THC. He said, “They were very helpful with everything.” He added, “They made the environment safe and comfortable and they were open to answer any questions.” 

The Teen Health Center offers two providers: Tania Chavez, who has a Master of Science in Nursing, is a Registered Nurse, and is also a Certified Nurse Practitioner-Primary Care; and Moraima Peña, who is a certified medical assistant. The providers are sponsored by Presbyterian Medical Service, or PMS, a large organization that runs the clinic. 

The THC is also funded by Title X, a federal program that, according to the American Medical Association, ensures that every student, regardless of where they live, how much money their family makes, their background, or whether or not they have health insurance, has access to health care. 

The THC offers confidential services for teens looking to talk to someone about personal issues without parental permission. “The confidentiality in New Mexico covers reproductive health and mental health,” said Ms. Chavez. She added that this client confidentiality holds up with the exception of if “someone wants to hurt themselves, hurt or kill other people, or someone is hurting them.” If these conditions are met, she explained, “We do an intake with a therapist that we have online and then they assign them a therapist that’s here on sight, but if we’re not able to do that, we will refer them to the Santa Fe Care Center or to the emergency room, depending upon how dangerous the situation is for them.”

If kids are looking to quit vaping, the THC doesn’t provide direct services for them, but they do offer “the 1-800 Smoking Number if they need patches for stuff like that,” said Ms. Mae.

All of the services the THC offers are free, for all teens aged 12 through 20, “if somebody scheduled an appointment and filled out the paperwork then they’re our patients,” said Ms. Chavez. 

Ms. Mae isn’t pleased that the door inside the school, which used to allow kids to access the THC without going outside, was removed during the construction in the 2022-2023 school year. She said, “The removed door… has been a problem because if kids want to seek our help, they have to leave [the building], and because of that, security guards think that they’re ditching school.” The THC staff give students passes when they come to their appointment, and they also give passes back to class. 

She’s not the only one who isn’t pleased with the decision to remove the door. Ms. Chavez said, “We do not like that they removed our door. We feel like it impairs our abilities to meet the needs of the students at the school.”

The THC offers one medical provider and therapist for Santa Fe High and one for Capital High. The School for the Deaf also provides these service for teens.

If you’re seeking psychological help, birth control, a sports physical, or health advice that you can’t get from your parents, the Teen Health Center is there to help. You can schedule your appointment in person or call 505-467-2439.

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