School Counseling Services at Northwest

The counseling office will be available to students and families for solution-focused, and strengths-based support to problem solve, provide resources and referral resources. These include brief sessions for students and families during our school day and off hours support for our international students and families spread out across time zones.

  • Erin North, LICSW
    Erin is the grade level counselor for students and families in the graduating classes of 2021, 2023, 2025, and 2027. You can connect with Erin via email, or schedule a Zoom meeting through Calendly here.
  • Lynn Heramis, Certified School Counselor
    Lynn is the grade level counselor for students and families in the graduating classes of 2022, 2024, and 2026. You can connect with Lynn via email, or schedule a Zoom meeting with her through Calendly here.

Our school counseling department is able to offer brief and short-term ‘face to face’ meetings with students and families through Zoom and/or Microsoft Teams. These platforms and meetings are intended to be private, however, due to the nature of online communication, we cannot guarantee confidentiality.

Students who are already connected with a mental health provider outside of school are encouraged to maintain regular therapeutic check points and utilize School Counselors as secondary support to their primary therapist.

If you are looking for therapeutic support resources for your student, please email our counselors for recommendations. Families may also reach out to Washington’s Mental Health Referral Service for Children and Teens. Resources may also be available from: your student’s primary care provider, a parent/guardian's employee assistance program, or a student’s insurance company.

Healthy Youth Survey

The Northwest School is participating in the Washington State Healthy Youth Survey on October 13, 2021. The Healthy Youth survey includes questions related to physical activity and diet, unintentional and intentional injury, substance use, risk and protective factors, access to school-based services, and sexual behaviors, abuse, and orientation. Survey results are used by schools, communities, and state agencies to plan programs to support our youth and reduce their risks. Participation in the survey is voluntary and the students’ answers are anonymous. 

Below, you will find more details about how this survey may help support student wellness and prevention efforts at NWS, as well as how it contributes to program planning and policy development on behalf of youth health and wellness in Washington State. We hope you will support this anonymous and important survey by talking with your student(s) about their participation. If you are reluctant to have your student take the survey, please reach out to Erin North or Lynn Heramis (School Counselors) with any questions or concerns, and/or about a plan for an alternative activity for your student during survey administration.

Parent and Student Information Letter (English)

Parent and Student Information Letter (Spanish)

Parent and Student Information Letter (Additional Languages)

Our counselors provide short term, solution focused, and strengths-based support to our students and families. Our role is one of advocacy and support; students are never “in trouble” when they enter our offices. In, fact, we welcome students to enter our offices for any reason, the need for: support, celebration, problem solving, venting, etc.

What challenges does the counseling office support?

There is a wide range of student need in our counseling offices. Students receive support on common adolescent concerns such as stress, anxiety, peer relationships, and identity development. Students are also able to seek support in times of transition, academic struggle, homesickness, loss, and acute need. We are equipped to support a wide spectrum of challenges and can also provide initial support students in crisis.

How do our counselors support students?

Our goal is to help students to develop strategies and plans that will increase their ability to cope, effectively communicate with others, and to promote positive growth. All of this begins with providing an open and nonjudgmental space for them to be vulnerable in expressing concerns that are often hard to share.

School counseling does not provide primary treatment or therapy, yet counselors are equipped with clinical knowledge and experience. We want to partner with you to support your student(s), encouraging you to reach out to us with questions, to collaborate, or to request referrals. Our team is also able to coordinate care between our school and a student’s outside supports.

Which counselor should I reach out to?

Counselors can be accessed through dropping in, scheduling a time to meet via email, and through student, faculty or family request. 

  • Erin North, LICSW, is the grade level counselor for students and families in the classes of 2021, 2023, and 2025.
  • Lynn Heramis, Certified School Counselor, is the grade level coordinator for the graduating classes of 2022, 2024, and 2026.

This division of duties allows grade level cohorts to have a known support person in our school community, and to allow for the establishment of a relationship spanning from middle to upper school. This also allows our counseling team to build relationship and rapport with grade level teams, families, and other student teams across a student’s NWS experience.

We recognize that sometimes different students need different things – if a student or family needs to work with a counselor outside of their graduation year, that is also supported.

What else do our school counselors do?

Our School Counselors support a wide variety of social and emotional needs of the student body through short term counseling, members of our middle and upper school student support teams, teachers of our yearlong Peer Mentoring class, and by providing leadership of the Forefront in the Schools Suicide Prevention program and our school’s partnerships with FCD Prevention works and the Washington State Healthy Youth Survey. We are also actively involved in our school’s social emotional learning initiatives.

Emergency / Crisis Lines

  • Crisis Text Line - Crisis Text Line is free, 24/7 support for those in crisis. Text 741741 from anywhere in the U.S.A. to text with a trained crisis counselor.
  • Crisis Connections (24 hour Crisis Line, including Suicide) – 1-866-427-4747
  • Crisis Chat - Lifeline Crisis Chat is a service of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline in partnership with CONTACT USA. It is the first service of its kind where crisis centers across the United States have joined together to form one national chat network that can provide online emotional support, crisis intervention, and suicide prevention services. Seven days a week.
  • Disaster Distress Helpline | SAMHSA - The Disaster Distress Helpline is a 24/7, 365-day-a-year, national hotline dedicated to providing immediate crisis counseling for people who are experiencing emotional distress related to any natural or human-caused disaster. This toll-free, multilingual, and confidential crisis support service is available to all residents in the United States and its territories. Stress, anxiety, and other depression-like symptoms are common reactions after a disaster. Call or text 1-800-985-5990 to connect with a trained crisis counselor. 
  • Fire / Police / Medical – 911
  • King County Sexual Assault Resource Center - KCSARC is a victim-advocacy organization that provides critical support, tools, and direct services to children, teens, women and men who are victims of sexual assault. KCSARC works with clients of all ages and from all backgrounds. To talk with someone immediately, please call our 24-Hour Resource Line at 888.99.VOICE (888.998.6423).
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (24 / 7) - call 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255) or chat.
  • RAINN Hotline – Call 800.656.HOPE (4673) to be connected with a trained staff member from a sexual assault service provider in your area.
  • Trans Lifeline - Trans Lifeline's Hotline is a peer support phone service run by trans people for trans and questioning peers. Call 1-877-565-8860 for a trans person to talk to, even if you are not in crisis or not sure if you are trans. (Oprima 2 para hablar con unx operador en español.)
  • The Trevor Project Lifeline – The Trevor Lifeline is the only nationwide, around-the-clock suicide prevention and crisis intervention lifeline for LGBTQ youth. The Trevor Lifeline is a free and confidential service that offers hope and someone to talk to, 24/7. Call 1-866-488-7386.

Other Resource Lines (that aren't 24/7):

  • Center for Sexual Assault and Traumatic Stress at Harborview – 206-744-1600
  • Teen Link – a confidential, anonymous, and non-judgmental help line answered by teens from 6:00-10:00 p.m. 365 days a year. Teen volunteers are trained to listen to a caller's concerns and talk to them about whatever is on their mind. Call them at 1-866-TEENLINK (1-866-833-6546).
  • King County 2-1-1- King County 2-1-1 connects people to the help they need, providing comprehensive
    information on health and human services in King County. Call, chat, or email 2-1-1 Monday through Friday 8am-6pm.

Counseling Referral Services

Washington’s Mental Health Referral Service for Children and Teens connects patients and families with evidence-supported, outpatient, mental health services in their community. This free, telephone-based referral service is funded by HCA and operated by Seattle Children’s. The Mental Health Referral Service will provide services thorough mental health referrals for Washington state children and teens, ages 17 and younger. Families can call 833-303-5437, Monday through Friday, 8:00 am-5:00 pm PST, to connect with a referral specialist.

APISAA Therapist Directory - The Asian, Pacific Islander, and South Asian American Therapist directory helps facilitate a search for a therapist.

Inclusive Therapists believes people with people with all abilities in all bodies deserve equal access to identity affirming, culturally responsive care. Inclusive Therapists centers the needs of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC), and the 2SLGBTQIA+ community and honors the full neurodiversity spectrum and advocate for mental health care accessibility for people with disabilities/ disabled people. Terapia con un profesional que te entiende

Multi-Cultural Counselors WA State serves an array of ethnic clients needing counseling and therapy from providers who understand the specific needs of people of color and various cultures. As licensed therapists and counselors, we have a variety of backgrounds, experiences, ethnicities and language skills needed to assist many ethnicities in Washington.

The National Queer and Trans Therapists of Color Network (NQTTCN) is a space for queer, gender non-conforming and trans therapists of color to build, resource, and support one another as clinicians and healers. NQTTCN also provides a dynamic list of trans and queer therapists and healers across the country.

Open Path Psychotherapy Collective provides middle and lower-income level individuals, couples, families, and children with access to affordable psychotherapy and mental health education services.

Psychology Today provides detailed professional listings for psychologists, psychiatrists, therapists, counselors, support groups, and treatment centers in the United States and Canada.

Therapy for Black Girls has a listing of mental health professionals across the country who provide high quality, culturally competent services to Black women and girls. This directory is not at all exhaustive and is meant to provide you with a place to start if you are looking for a therapist in your area.

WA Therapy Fund works to alleviate the burden of cost and burden of discount to both Black clients and the therapist who serve them. The WA Therapy Fund foundation seeks to grant free therapeutic services to those within the Black community who are in need, and suffering from racial trauma, anxiety, depression, and other ailments due to systemic oppression, economic sufferings, and intergenerational trauma that has not been addressed in the past. WA Therapy Fund maintains two lists of therapy providers: WA Therapy Fund understands there are a lack of Black therapists in the state to provide healing. As clinicians become booked they have vetted non Black allies who are committed to doing anti-racist works and not re-traumatizing Black people.  

Mental Health Resources

This is a new and growing section of resources from the School Counseling Department. We will continue to update and add to these resources to help destigmatize, educate, and offer layers of support and information for your wellness. All of these resources are appropriate for youth, caregivers, and professionals.

Asian Mental Health Collective- It is the mission of AMHC to normalize and de-stigmatize mental health within the Asian community. AMHC aspires to make mental health easily available, approachable, and accessible to Asian communities worldwide. AMHC believes in integrating shared backgrounds with the progressive ideals of emotional well-being and mental health - expressing collectivist ideals while respecting the agency of the individual.

Forefront Suicide Prevention: The Well-Being Series for Families and Educations - These free resources provide information about things families and schools can do to support mental well-being in our youth, and prevent suicide in their communities. You can view recorded webinars such as: Hope and Cope 2020 for youth ages 14-21; Ambiguous Loss: Grieving in the Time of COVID-19; Psychological First Aid – Listen, Protect, Connect/Model, and Teach; and much more.

The Jed Foundation (JED) - The Jed Foundation’s Mental Health Resource Center provides essential information about common emotional health issues and shows teens and young adults how they can support one another, overcome challenges and make a successful transition to adulthood. The Jed Foundation offers important resources for youth as well as families and school communities.

Lambert House - Lambert House is a Seattle-based service empowering lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning youth through the development of leadership, social, and life skills.

Muslim Wellness Foundation - Our core mission is to reduce stigma and promote healing and emotional wellbeing in the American Muslim community through dialogue, education and training. We envision a future in which faith communities are at the forefront of mental health advocacy and committed to developing an inclusive culture of compassion, understanding and support. In order to achieve this goal, we have adopted an interdisciplinary approach which addresses mental health challenges using a spiritually relevant community-based public health framework. This approach recognizes the negative impact of stressors such as poverty, oppression, anti-Black racism, and anti-Muslim bigotry which lead to diminished well being. We invite YOU to join US on this journey of healing and health!

NAMI Seattle: Black, Indigenous & People of Color Mental Health Resources - NAMI Seattle is the only organization in the Seattle area working specifically to fill the gaps in our local mental health system through peer-led education, referrals, and support. NAMI works to address the unmet mental health needs within our community through support, referral, education, and outreach. Resources for Black, Indigenous & People of Color Mental Health include resources, referrals, stories and lived experiences and more.

Trans Families- Trans Families is a nonprofit organization that has been supporting transgender people and their families since 2008. Formerly called Gender Diversity, we are also the force behind the annual conference Gender Odyssey. Today, Trans Families run parent support groups (including a group for Spanish-speaking families), a trans youth leadership program, special topics groups, and youth support groups, with more programs in development. Before COVID-19, our groups were all in person. Now they are all online, here, available for families everywhere.

Well Beings - The Well Beings Tour is a series of community-based outreach events hosted by local public media stations across the country to demystify and normalize mental health matters, address discrimination and stigma, and encourage compassion; You can view past recordings or sign up to watch live discussions on such topics as: Living Life Online: The Impact of Social Media on youth Mental Health; Black Youth Resilience; Youth Mental Health and How You Can Help; and many more salient conversations and content.

FCD Prevention Works

To maintain and strengthen the health of our school community, the Northwest School continues to work with FCD Prevention Works, a part of the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation. FCD (Freedom from Chemical Dependency) is a nonprofit organization that, for over 40 years, has been the leading provider of alcohol and other drug education and prevention services for schools across the United States and in 70 countries around the world. In 2014, we partnered with FCD for the first time and we have committed to annual visits from their prevention specialists and their survey process every two to three years.

Forefront in the Schools

Founded in 2013, Forefront, a Center for Excellence at the University of Washington, is working to reduce “suicide by empowering individuals and communities to take sustainable action, championing systemic change and restoring hope.” We began our partnership with Forefront in the fall of 2015 in their first cohort of their Forefront in the Schools Program. At the fall joint cohort meeting of 35 schools, The Northwest School was highlighted for having intentional and thorough emergency documents and preparation. As part of our continuing work, we are committed to annually training all Faculty, including Coaches and RAs in the challenging work of intervening when a student is showing signs they may be considering suicide.