For high school students, mental health is a huge part of our lives. By definition, mental health is your psychological, social, and emotional well-being. It affects everything in your life, from how you treat others to how you treat yourself. These four years hold a massive amount of development in several areas, including academic, emotional, and social areas of development. By acknowledging mental health and how you feel, you are more likely to succeed in all areas of development in high school. Within this article, we will discuss the significance of mental health awareness in high school, how it affects relationships, and resources for fellow students to aid anyone struggling with their mental health during these difficult years.
Mental health awareness is a huge conversation going on in high schools right now. Some counties even have programs that focus on explaining mental health and how to maintain good mental health. Unfortunately, not all schools have programs or acknowledge what mental health is. This is an issue, considering that the National Alliance on Mental Illness estimates that one in five people have at least some sort of mental health issue. There is an extreme amount of pressure put on high school students, from outside family issues to the stress of possibly going to college and creating a future for themselves. This is especially important to be aware of in high school because mental illnesses like depression and anxiety can negatively impact students' school performances. The organization Mental Health America found that students with untreated mental health conditions were more likely to fail school and end up in the criminal justice system, which is not ideal, and must be prevented. By discussing mental health, students can break down the stigma that surrounds mental health and encourage people to discuss the problems affecting their state of mind.
Mental health affects your relationships with everyone. Not only your family and friends, but peers as well can see if your mental health is suffering. If not addressed, or with a lack of empathy, these relationships could fall apart. Conditions like depression or anxiety tend to make it difficult to express emotions, which can strain your ability to communicate in relationships. People suffering from mental conditions may be more likely to socially withdraw and isolate themselves from society. Tension can arise from a lack of support or understanding from loved ones, damaging these relationships. It’s important to recognize these mental health issues and speak out about them for growth in the future. Open communication and seeking help when needed will create the best results for everyone in the relationship.
Because of these strenuous effects, in order to put students' best foot forward, they should be exposed to free resources, as only some have access to therapy or counseling. If your school offers counseling, and you feel safe within the environment to express yourself, that is a great option to seek out. For students searching for general information on mental health, including myths and preventing issues, the CDC mental health website is a great option. This can be found at https://www.cdc.gov/mentalhealth/index.htm. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration National Helpline is available for people needing mental health information and provides local treatment services at 1-800-622- HELP (4357). Just like 911 is used for emergencies, the 988 number is available to be dialed into any phone when in a mental health crisis. There is also a crisis text line that can be used by texting “HOME” to 741741 which connects the user to a mental health counselor. For LGBTQ+ students, the Trevor Project has great resources and a trans lifeline at 1-877-565-8860. Remember that there is always help out there and you are never alone. Everyone is rooting for you! You got this!
Barile, Nancy. “The Importance of Mental Health Awareness in Schools.” Hey Teach!, Western Governors University, 24 Oct. 2018, www.wgu.edu/heyteach/article/importance-mental-health-awareness-schools1810.html.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Mental Health - Home Page - CDC.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2019, www.cdc.gov/mentalhealth/index.htm.
“Recognizing Mental Health Problems in Children.” Mental Health America, mhanational.org/recognizing-mental-health-problems-children#:~:text=Untreated%20mental%20health%20problems%20can.
“Tools and Resources.” Www.cdc.gov, 28 Apr. 2023, www.cdc.gov/mentalhealth/tools-resources/index.htm#:~:text=CDC. Accessed 10 Sept. 2023.