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Snow Day
Snow Day
April 15, 2024
Members of Blue Mountains GSA take a photo at Teen Lit Mob on April 10, 2024. Pictured (right to left) is Joy Solomon, Karli Blood, Jessica Pinette, Susanna Nelson, Isabel Hand, and Mathew Webster.
Teen Lit Mob
April 15, 2024

Isabel Hand Op-Ed: Student Mental Health

Author’s Note: Isabel Hand is a Junior in high school who wants to continue her research in mental health, focusing on how to end the stigmas surrounding it in the school environment. 

 

Students are struggling, Please help us

In schools across the country, students are struggling with their mental health.  As a current student, I see the effects that poor mental health has had on my peers and myself. Over the past decade, the rate of students getting diagnosed with depression and anxiety has steadily increased, and it has skyrocketed since the Covid 19 pandemic.

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Although mental illness revolves around one’s mental health, it also impacts other aspects of one’s life. For example, there is a direct link between depression and anxiety and students’ academic performance. Many people shrug this off as laziness or students choosing not to work. However, this is not the case. People struggling with depression and anxiety are already overwhelmed with battling their mental illnesses and the symptoms associated with these illnesses, making it incredibly difficult to find motivation or focus. This often leaves students feeling exhausted by even the thought of splintering their focus on anything else.

Schools have put up posters, held assemblies, and claimed that ‘there is always someone to talk to.’ However, these ‘solutions’ do not address the issue itself – especially if they are not presented in the correct way. We appreciate the schools’ willingness to provide their students with these resources and understand that many are trying, but it is simply not enough. 

These solutions are usually made by adults who cannot comprehend what it is like to be a student in 2023. Instead of adults primarily making these decisions and presentations, we should consider incorporating the students’ voices into the picture. This will help students who are afraid that they will be labeled as crazy by demonstrating that struggling with mental health is not uncommon.

 Along with the informational posters and assemblies, students will also benefit from having open and honest communication about mental health with their teachers. Talking about mental health with students can be frightening; it can open up raw, uncomfortable conversations. However, these conversations are necessary in order to make change. Having a non-judgemental, welcoming staff who are open to these conversations, signals to students that they have a safe person to confide in when they experience these unwanted thoughts.

Many do not realize that people in their life are also struggling: friends, children, students, or even yourself. People tend to realize after the fact – when it is too late to prevent such horrible, unchangeable outcomes. We urge you to fight for us. YOUR students are in crisis, and it is only going to get worse until a solution is reached. Hence, as a society we need to band together to come up with solutions, ones that do not take away the people we love.

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