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harvard westlake suicide | Addressing Mental Health in Schools: Harvard-Westlake School’s Response to Tragic Loss of 2 students

Harvard Westlake suicide: The loss of young lives is a heart-wrenching experience that leaves a lasting impact on communities. Jordan Park, a 16-year-old sophomore, tragically died by suicide on March 8, 2023, sending shockwaves through the halls of Harvard-Westlake School. Known for his sense of humor and kindness, Park’s passing left his peers and teachers devastated. Sadly, the school community faced another painful blow when Jonah Anschell, a 17-year-old junior and member of the debate team, died by suicide on April 19, 2023, just two weeks after Park’s death.

These tragic events prompted Harvard-Westlake School to take immediate action to support its students. Recognizing the urgency of addressing mental health concerns, the school implemented a series of academic policies and mental health initiatives aimed at providing a supportive environment for its students.

1. Ban on Grade Drops during the Fourth Quarter

To alleviate stress and anxiety during the final weeks of the school year, Harvard-Westlake School enacted a ban on grade drops during the fourth quarter. This policy change aimed to reduce academic pressure and ensure that students’ mental well-being was prioritized. By removing the fear of negatively impacting their grades, students could focus on their emotional recovery and seek the necessary support without the additional burden of academic consequences.

2. Establishment of a New Wellness Center

Understanding the importance of providing a safe and confidential space for students to address their mental health concerns, Harvard-Westlake School created a dedicated wellness center. This facility serves as a haven for students, offering a supportive environment where they can openly discuss their emotional well-being. Trained professionals are available to provide guidance, counseling, and resources to those in need. The wellness center’s goal is to destigmatize seeking help and promote a culture of openness and support within the school community.

3. Expansion of Mental Health Counseling Services

Recognizing the increased demand for mental health support, Harvard-Westlake School expanded its counseling services. The school hired additional counselors to ensure greater accessibility for students seeking help. By increasing the availability of counseling appointments, students are provided with timely and comprehensive support tailored to their individual needs. These counselors play a vital role in fostering a positive and empathetic environment, offering guidance, and empowering students to navigate the challenges they face.

4. Raising Awareness and Destigmatizing Mental Health

Harvard-Westlake School has made concerted efforts to raise awareness about mental health issues and destigmatize seeking help. The school has organized various events and workshops focused on mental health, inviting experts to share their knowledge and experiences. Through these initiatives, students are encouraged to engage in open discussions, increase their understanding of mental health, and develop a sense of empathy towards their peers. Additionally, the school actively promotes the importance of students reaching out to their parents, teachers, and counselors if they are struggling, fostering a supportive network that extends beyond the classroom.

In light of the tragedies that befell the Harvard-Westlake School community, it is crucial to address the importance of seeking help for those battling suicidal thoughts. There are numerous resources available for individuals in need, including:

  • The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
  • The Crisis Text Line: Text HOME to 741741
  • The Trevor Project: 1-866-488-7386
  • The Jed Foundation: https://www.jedfoundation.org/

These resources offer professional support and guidance for those facing mental health challenges. It is vital to reach out and seek help or encourage others to do so, as the journey to recovery starts with acknowledging the need for support.


The tragic losses of Jordan Park and Jonah Anschell served as a catalyst for change at Harvard-Westlake School. Through the implementation of new academic policies and mental health initiatives, the school has taken significant steps to address the emotional well-being of its students. By providing a nurturing environment, fostering open conversations, and ensuring accessible support systems, Harvard-Westlake School is actively working towards creating a community that values mental health.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What led to the implementation of new academic policies at Harvard-Westlake School? The implementation of new academic policies at Harvard-Westlake School was a direct response to the tragic deaths of Jordan Park and Jonah Anschell. These policies aim to alleviate stress and anxiety among students and prioritize their mental well-being.

2. How does the wellness center at Harvard-Westlake School support students? The wellness center at Harvard-Westlake School provides a safe and confidential space for students to discuss their mental health concerns. Trained professionals offer counseling, guidance, and resources to support students’ emotional well-being.

3. How has Harvard-Westlake School expanded its mental health counseling services? Harvard-Westlake School has hired additional counselors to meet the increased demand for mental health support. The expansion ensures greater accessibility and timely assistance for students in need.

4. What is the purpose of raising awareness about mental health at Harvard-Westlake School? Raising awareness about mental health at Harvard-Westlake School aims to destigmatize seeking help and foster a supportive community. Events and workshops are organized to increase understanding, empathy, and encourage open discussions.

5. What resources are available for individuals struggling with suicidal thoughts? There are several resources available for individuals struggling with suicidal thoughts, including the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, Crisis Text Line, The Trevor Project, and The Jed Foundation. These organizations offer professional support and guidance.

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    Thanks- Jason

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