Battling mental health

Christina Rossetti, Reporter

Mental health is no joke. While we may not realize it, many high school students are struggling with many different mental health disorders. The struggles and pressures of high school can lead to anxiety and depression.

“Every day we see somebody whose mental health functioning is getting in the way of things,” Jeanne Widing, Student Assistance Program Coordinator said.

Widing sees anxiety, depression, mood regulations and the pressures of battling expectations of teachers, family, schoolwork, sports and clubs. She also sees students setting high standards for themselves as the biggest stressors each day.

“One of the biggest things that students can do is go out and get professional help,” Widing said. “Sometimes it’s helpful to have an objective soundboard, as well as friends. Self care is very important, as well as getting help professionally, in getting better.”

According to Mental Health America, one in five students has a diagnosable mental health issue. Two thirds of those students go unnoticed.

“Without treatment, children with mental health issues are at increased risk of school failure, contact with the criminal justice system, dependence on social services, and even suicide,” Mental Health America reported.

One important factor of battling mental health is speaking out.

“Oftentimes it’s hard for us to get out of our own feelings and our own brain,” Widing said. “If somebody helps us do that, it can be really enlightening.”

Mental Health America states that there are many indicators that a mental health issue may have arisen, such as: decline in school performance, poor grades despite strong efforts, constant worry or anxiety, repeated refusal to go to school or to take part in normal activities, hyperactivity or fidgeting, persistent nightmares, persistent disobedience or aggression, frequent temper tantrums, depression, sadness or irritability.

“Going to see a counselor would be a great starting point to begin to cope with these mental health issues,” Widing said.

However, out of many responsibilities that students face, mental health should take top priority.

-“Dealing with any mental health issue is a matter of problem solving,” Widing said. “It doesn’t mean you have to lose something that is causing stress totally, but just maybe take a weekend off. Or just maybe take step back for a minute from an activity. Realize that it’s okay to get a “B” on a paper rather than to stay up too late and work toward the “A”. It’s a matter of prioritizing and realizing you don’t have to lose something, you just might have to take a step back from it for a little bit.”