Mentally prepared for mental health

Mentally prepared for mental health

Mental illness is becoming increasingly relevant as the media pushes the issue to the surface. As teenagers in high school shift from childhood to adulthood, they are faced with increasingly stressful scenarios. 

According to the World Health Organization, among teenagers, suicide is the fourth common death. Roughly 14% of 10-19 year olds have a diagnosed mental condition; however, there is an undetermined amount of undiagnosed teenagers. Around 1,120,000 teenagers from age 15 to 19 committed suicide in 2019 in the United States.

What should schools do?

Sarah Hutchinson, an English teacher at Northwest High School, said, “The kids… tend to do well coping. They tend to do well covering it up. So I think the best thing that we can do is start becoming more aware.”

Avery Miller, a member of the Mental Health club, said “The Mental Health club provides helpful resources for those who may be struggling.” 

Hutchinson believes that kids who are having trouble will reach out, but that shouldn’t stop people from talking to students who may be struggling. 

Reaching out is easy and can be accomplished by doing the simplest things. Complimenting a person takes no more than ten seconds; whether it’s on social media or in person, it can impact someone’s day positively.

Giving resources can successfully prevent the suicide rates from growing and also create a “safe space” where students can go to be comfortable. Just the presence of people who are caring can push for a positive mood within the school and within the student body.

When asked how Northwest High School can create a “safe space” for teenagers struggling with mental illness, student Emily Cao said, “Like a club. Where anyone can go and you don’t have to go weekly, maybe have some games.”

Hutchinson said that a “safe space” is different for everybody. She said “Teachers they [distressed students] can go to, or people they can lean on.”

Maybe a “safe space” takes on the role of a person, and this can be one of the major ways that schools can create a safe environment for students.

You can take on an active role and make a difference by being a “safe space” for somebody who needs it.

Just like “safe spaces,” mental illness differs from person to person. 

“Mental health is the state of wellbeing based on the brain functions, how they may impact your daily life and how to cope.”

 People function differently; however, this shouldn’t be seen as a negative. For every five kids, there is one who has at least one diagnosable mental illness.

 “The more we normalize mental health by talking about it, the better it will be for everyone,” said Avery Miller.

If you or someone you know needs help, contact the National Suicide Hotline is 800-273-8255. Instead of calling the hotline, you can text the Crisis Text Line for a variety of issues including anxiety, eating disorders, depression, suicide and coronavirus. Text HOME to 741741 to contact them. 

Awareness is the starting point for helping students.