What To Do When It’s All Uphill


Sydney Kalish, Editor of Student Life

This year at Cardinal Gibbons we welcomed a new mental health counselor to offer support for our student body in an effort to realize growing mental health struggles throughout our school and community. It is with this goal in mind that Gibbons attempts to further the counseling program within the school by adding Ms. Keni Hines to our list of staff and faculty.

For the past decade, especially in the last few years because of Covid, mental health has been at the forefront of many people’s minds. After going unnoticed and developing stigma throughout our culture for the past century, many are taking a stand and pointing out its true importance in everyday life.

Not many good things came out of the pandemic, however through isolation we as a collective nation have realized our need for healthy mental habits, and the lack thereof within our society. We have made great strides in removing the shame of accepting help from others, with psychotherapy and counseling becoming more and more common throughout America.

Despite all of this, acknowledging the challenges mental health poses and seeking help for it still has a long way to go, especially in our school. 

Here at Gibbons, much like the rest of society, positive mental health is beginning to be prioritized more than ever. Prior to Ms. Hines, our resident mental health counselor was Mrs. Caroline Costello, who founded the counseling program at Gibbons.

Building the program from the ground up, Costello pointed out the immense role mental health plays in the lives of students even before the pandemic, especially in the fast moving and high achieving environment of our school. By giving every student a voice she laid the crucial foundations for our counseling program.

Mrs. Costello recognized the need for not only physical health but mental health and set the stage for its growing importance in our school and our world today. Costello even won a Daly award; an annual honor celebrating the Gibbons mission voted for by educators and staff. 

Ms. Hines seems just the person to take up this critical role. Hines is a licensed professional counselor, well experienced in talking both students and adults alike through depression, anxiety, grief, and interpersonal conflicts. “Have emotions, but think logically,” Hines says about her personal outlook on mental health.

Understanding and internalizing emotions are important but in her opinion knowing what to do with these emotions in order to plan ahead is ultimately the goal. Because of her perspective as a new educator, Hines is able to look at Gibbons through a different lens.

Hines said, “Some of the most basic skills of problem solving get overlooked because of stress and anxiety.” In her short time here, Hines has found that the majority of mental health issues are rooted in the heavy academic workload that so many students place upon themselves. The fact that most do not even know what positive self care looks like is her biggest concern.

Going forward she hopes to help as many students as she can, leaving her library door open for all who need it. 

A counseling program that is student-based and centered around building strong physical, mental, and emotional habits is essential for a healthy campus. Working as a community, students can help nurture these values to help each other and seek mental health resources when they are challenged.

Ms Hines said, “Let’s learn some new coping skills, let’s learn to not negative self talk, let’s learn that you don’t have to accomplish everything today. Let’s plan, not for today but for tomorrow too.”

You can find Ms. Hines in the back of the library next to the Fishbowl.

Or email her at: kenihines@cghsnc.org