For Awareness, Every Little Bit Helps
For everyone, High School is full of ups and downs no matter who you are, and no matter when or where you went to school. Having a mental health initiative at school is a lucky thing to have, and I’m glad our school does. The recent trend of giving out notes of kindness and support during holidays throughout the year is amazing! No one could ever be mad about randomly getting a note from either a current teacher that wants to tell you how appreciated you are, or a teacher you had years ago that still remembers you and compliments you.
We so often tell each other how much we love that jacket, necklace or watch, we tend to miss the big picture. We are so quick to applaud someone for something they picked up off a rack or shelf, we hardly ever commend each other for the things that are much more difficult to obtain. It’s rare to hear a “great attitude you had there!” after trying really hard to accomplish your goals or an “I really liked that exceptional kindness you showed” when everything else in the world seemed to be telling you not to care.
In our newspaper class, we got notes from our editors, and fairly recently my English long term substitute/student teacher Ms. Russell, gave our class slips of paper asking what we did to relax, and how she could help our mental health. All of these things combined led to a really warm, inviting atmosphere that makes students―or at least myself, feel like they impact others in a positive way and really matter.
To me, “Angst” was super informative and interesting to watch, and the simple act of making an ACT card felt good, like setting up a backup plan. Yes, people around me were definitely doing homework and falling asleep while watching “Angst,” and plenty of people acted like it was dumb, but just because plenty of people acted like they didn’t care, it doesn’t mean they actually didn’t care. In fact, I’d say one of the main essences of High School is everyone acting like they don’t care about things solely because they’ve been required to do them, when in reality things are important to them. Even if hypothetically, I was the only person that learned something that day, helping even one person is definitely worth the effort, especially if we are trying to de—stigmatize mental disorders and treat them like what they are: diseases.
Teens Aren’t Taking Initiatives Seriously
Mental health at school has been a topic for discussion ever since suicides of students, with today’s society contributing to this rise. In today’s culture, talking about mental health is acceptable and coming more to awareness for everybody; but social media and the high standards that come with it also contribute to more teens with mental illnesses. The school has seen these pressures and has recently attempted to do something about it.
Most students saw the film “Angst” at a mandatory assembly for each grade last year. I personally did not see half of the movie. I fell asleep. Was it a good documentary? Yes. Was I tired? Yes. Was it so interesting and did it really help my mental health and change my mindset? Not really. Showing the film had good intentions, that’s for sure. But many students made fun of the film, actually.
Showing them a movie made by adults, showed to them by adults, is not going to do anything.
Another initiative the school has taken to try and help students’ mental health is the ACT cards; it has a phone number on it that students can text if they need someone to talk to. From my view, it didn’t seem to help, and I never heard of anyone using it. Why? I think it’s because many students already do this. Most teens have that person they can always text, that shoulder they can always cry on to tell their problems to, so telling students that there’s someone they can text about their problems isn’t something new. There are many who don’t have that one person or who don’t feel like they can talk to anyone about their issues, which I understand. So for those students, this might be an excellent solution, and they may be using it and it may help. But, from what I’ve seen and heard about, the vast majority don’t use it and make a joke out of it, similar to the movie.
There’s always been the simple help of counselors at our school as well as every high school. The counselor’s office is a great place to go to talk to your counselor if you have any problems and they made sure to emphasize this especially following all the recent problems at our school, which is great. Just knowing you have someone to talk to and someone who will try to help is very comforting, and it’s great for the kids who don’t feel like they have any friends who would be there for them if they have a problem, too. There’s always the problem that not everybody wants to or has the nerve to go talk to someone. Nobody can force someone to talk about their troubles and that’s the problem. Some students know this option is available, but they aren’t willing to use it.
In conclusion, has the initiative the school has taken for mental health helped? In my opinion, no. BUT, is there much they can do? No. It’s not the school’s fault any of these issues.. They can’t hand out passes to skip school because of mental health because kids will abuse it, and you can’t tell them they don’t have mental health issues because there’s no way to tell what’s going on in someone’s head. The cold truth is, mental illnesses can’t be treated through a school, they need professional help.