Mental Health Awarness
Adolescence is a very important period for developing social skills and healthy emotional habits for mental well-being. On the contrary, mental health struggles are an epidemic for teenagers right now. Mental Health stressors include social media, the pandemic, peer pressure, especially when it comes to doing drugs and drinking. Nowadays with all the risk factors, one in seven (14%) ten-nineteen year-olds experience mental health struggles, and most of these go undiagnosed.
According to the Worlds Mental Health Organization just a few of the mental health struggles teens grapple with are, anxiety, eating disorders (anorexia, bulimia, etc.) OCD, depression, bipolar, and so much more. 2.8 percent of teens wrestle with depression, 4.6 percent of teens struggle with anxiety and so many others experience other mental health disorders. Suicide is also a major issue for teens and is the fourth leading cause of death.. Detecting if someone is suicidal can be difficult. If you are unsure if a person is suicidal, some key warning signs include: talking or writing about harming themselves, withdrawing from social events and things, (ex. Sports school events, etc.) mood swings, feeling trapped, hopeless, use of drugs or alcohol, and other risky behaviors.
If stress starts everything, what causes stress? Some causes of stress include: being around adversity, peer pressure, exploration of identity, and overall social media. And even mental health issues lead to other issues. Keeping your stress low is very important for keeping your mental health healthy. Something you can do to limit stress is time management, limiting social media, exercising, eating healthy, getting enough sleep and so much more. Keeping your stress low will have a positive impact on your life.
However, when teens do struggle with their mental health it can lead to many other difficulties. Somethings mental health causes are social exclusion, discrimination, stigma (the stigma around getting the help they need), educational difficulties, risk-taking behaviors, physical health compromises, and human rights violations. These issues can lead to many other difficulties in the teen’s later life if they are not taken care of. One issue surrounding mental health is the stigma of it. According to Mental Health News today, mental health stigma is, “societal disapproval, or when society places shame on people who live with a mental illness or seek help for emotional distress, such as anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, or PTSD.” (https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/mental-health-stigma#mental-health-stigma). The pressure of this stigma can come from fellow students, family members, and even your friends. The stigma around mental health can prevent people from finding a good support group, getting the help they need and so many other issues. So where does this stigma come from? Much of the stigma surrounding mental health is a result of stereotypes. For example, the stereotype is that people with anxiety are just weak, and people with depression are just lazy. When in reality they are just battling mental health and these things are not their fault. There is also the fear of being labeled crazy, so they shy away from getting the help they need and opening up about their issues.
One way Apex High has helped with this is by starting the Mental Health Awareness Club. This club was created by the co-presidents, Sarah Bess (SB) Eskridge, Allison Hurley, and the VP Mollie Greene. Allison said the club is about bringing awareness to mental health and its effects on teenagers as well as ending the stigma around mental health. This is important for Allison, so when she found out we didn’t have a club for mental health this needed to change, especially since opening up about mental health is super important. When asked, Allison said that one-way teens can help their mental health is by finding a coping mechanism. “Everyone needs their coping mechanism, find what helps you calm down and have people to talk to. Good groups of friends, parents, people who you trust and know will help you.” Finding a coping mechanism and a good group of people hopefully will decrease your levels of stress. Her hopes for the club in the future are to get more exposure and get more people involved. As well as help students with their struggles and help them understand just because you are battling mental health doesn’t mean you are “weak”. And that it is ok to reach. Allison also hopes to teach peers how to support each other and how to identify when you need to seek help. Allison hopes to make a difference at Apex High! The Mental Health Awareness Club meets the last Tuesday (unless otherwise noted) of every month in Ms. Doud’s room, 2315.
Keeping teens’ mental health in check is super important and should be one of the most important things you do!
Mental Health Resources
Suicide Hotline: 800-273-8255: