Normalizing the need to discuss mental health

Aeowynn Ayers, Staff Writer

The mental health crisis in teenagers is becoming more and more prevalent every day. Mental illness affects 46% of teenagers and 13% of children, and only half of them are being treated for it.

Untreated mental illnesses can be detrimental to a child’s life. It messes with one’s behavior, thoughts, and emotions and will make it harder to adapt and cope with misfortune.
It is important for people to understand that just because someone doesn’t seem depressed or anxious, it doesn’t mean they aren’t.
Mental illness is a silent killer.
Mental illness is a chemical imbalance in the brain that causes a disturbance in one’s thinking, behavior, and emotions. Mental illnesses make it harder to cope with traumatic or unusual situations that may occur.
There are two main types of disorders: anxiety disorders and mood disorders. These include anxiety, panic attacks, PTSD, OCD, phobias, depression and bipolar depression. Some main causes of mental illness are past trauma, genetics, or abuse.
A more current contribution to mental illness is social media.
Health teacher Mrs. Teresa Gauthier said, “There’s no downtime; it’s constant. Teens compare themselves to others’ posts. It’s easier to bully or to say mean things or to incorrectly read into a text or tweet.”
The rise of social media can make it very hard for teens to keep a stable mental health, and because of its addicting properties, it’s hard to stay away.
There is still a stigma around mental health. In teens, it can be inflicted by peers or even parents. If you are having trouble talking to your parents about mental health issues, tell a counselor at school or a trusted teacher.
If you are uncomfortable talking about your mental health to anyone but still want help, School Nurse Mrs. Michelle Webster recommends that someone, “take long breaks from social media, get news from newspapers instead of the television, exercise, pray, listen to music, keep a journal, or take up yoga.”
She also recommends you, “surround yourself with people who build you up rather than tear you down.”
If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health or dark thoughts, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline for free and confidential help at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).