Your struggles today can turn into strength tomorrow

A mental health awareness article

According to Wikipedia, mental health is defined as “our emotional, psychological, and social well-being on a day to day basis.” The mental health of teens and young adults is a critical principle that must be a top priority in schools. According to active minds, globally 1 in every 7 students attending high school struggle with mental health in some form. Within the last decade mental health issues have increased by nearly 50%, making this generation one of the most predominant to experience mental health issues.

Common struggles include anxiety, depression, eating disorders, and PTSD. With the Covid pandemic these issues have only become more prominent. The importance of educating ourselves and others on this topic is crucial to the well being of our generation.

“Setting up a daily Mindfulness Practice would be my #1 go to for coping…mindfulness helps us remain grounded in our present experiences, freeing us from negative feelings of the past and future.” Said Mrs. Rachel Butler-Pardi, Norwin School District social worker.

“A successful mindfulness practice may initially teach us how to retreat to serenity” Said Pardi “Over time this will teach us how to remain in the present moment with negative feelings and without having to retreat.”

Norwin High School offers resources for the students to use when they need them. Since the mental health of students is a priority, it is important to treat it like one. By reaching out to others to get help, it allows individuals to cope and overall improve mentally.

“We have a wide variety of services for our students, and they are individual services,” said Pardi. “We have teachers, guidance counselors, case managers, school psychologists, and school based therapists.”

Knowing that we all possess the ability to make someone feel better with kind words or gestures is powerful. Everyone is fighting battles that we may not know about, and the least we can do is be kind to one another. Although we may not understand what someone may be facing or going through, we can provide support to the best of our abilities, or get help for those who are struggling. As an individual it is important for out emotions to be validated.

According to the Discovery Mood & Anxiety program: “We all possess incredibly positive qualities. They should not be overlooked. They should be constant reminders that you can overcome and that positive outcomes are possible. As I dealt (and continue to deal) with my mental health challenges, I think about all the great things about myself. I remember being told that I was ugly, dumb, and worthless. For the longest time, those were the only words I listened to. I came to realize that my power trumped those words. I am capable of proving everyone wrong. It took a little bit of determination, but a mental health issue did not defeat me. That is because I used power to thrive.”

Students’ mental health has become more complicated with the recent pandemic. Covid-19 has impacted the lives of so many, leading to negative impacts such as isolation, worry, and many deaths. The importance of being mindful during these times is crucial in order to keep pushing and moving forward. Although there is so much an individual cannot change, it is important to know that one can use positive affirmations to uplift ourselves and one another.

“The pandemic has shifted a lot in our world.” Said Pardi. “Anything we do to help ourselves stay mindful is critical. When we are more mindful, we are better able to support folks in our orbit.”

The shocking statistics and numbers of the amount of young adults dealing with mental health issues is concerning. This generation has faced many struggles that others have not had to deal with such as the media, cyber bullying, social media addiction, and numerous other issues. These numbers are concerning, and call for change. It is crucial to find more resources, solutions, and establish more programs that are less intimidating for those who are unwilling to receive help, but are in need of it.

“ I think having multiple options open is a great idea, because having only one place to go in order to get help for mental health issues might not allow a lot of students to get help since one method doesn’t work for everybody” said one anonymous student from Norwin Hugh school. “I feel that sometimes kids are afraid that if they talk about mental health at school, it will have to go back to their parents.”

According to active minds: 39 percent of students in high school experience a significant mental health issue, and the number 2 leading cause of death in young adults is suicide.”

Because we must make a change, new programs should be implemented. In a recent Norwin High School poll, many people shared that they cannot catch a break, and their lives are overwhelming. It is difficult balancing so many things at once, and unhealthy for our mental health. A recent idea of mine was to implement mental health days, where students can take the day off to decompress. Although this is not proven to help, it is so important for the school district to try different things to alleviate and improve the mental well being of their students.

“Mental health days would be great.” Says another anonymous student from Norwin High school. “Like implementing a system where a student can take time off to focus on themselves. With how networked the school is right now, students are expected to do the same amount of work when they’re not in school as they would when they’re in school, even if they’re physically or mentally sick, which gives students no opportunity to take a break. (Which everyone needs sometimes)”

“I don’t think we can go wrong helping folks identify ways they can be more attentive to our own mental wellness.” Says Pardi. “However, I am reluctant to outline a policy without the necessary data to back it up. If you are able to find places that successfully incorporate this, it would be a great place for you to reach out to.”

So many young adults struggle in silence, without expressing how they feel to anyone. It is important to reach out to someone whether it is a friend, family member, teacher, or co-worker. As an individual it is crucial to check up on those we care for and do our best to help them. As for ourselves, it should never be an embarrassment to ask for help, it is brave and courageous. In order to improve our well being, one has to receive help.

Another shocking statistic from active minds states: “67 percent of young adults tell a friend they are feeling suicidal before telling anyone else” and “50 percent of the population will experience a mental health issue in our lifetime.”

Knowing that there is such a high number of people that experience mental health issues in some form shows how common this is. Bringing awareness to the situation is just the beginning of what needs to be changed.

Norwin does provide resources and options, but by polling students in our school, the results show that students want to see a change.

In my recent poll, 84 percent of Students struggle with mental health issues, and 50 percent of students would take advantage of the programs to help with their mental health struggles in Norwin.

As of now there are not enough resources for students to use without feeling intimidated to ask for help. It is important for students voices to be heard, and for their ideas to be shared with the school district.

“Start a conversation. I lost one of my friends to suicide this year, one of our own students and they have not said a word about mental illnesses or how to get help in the school. Said one Norwin student. “I am so disappointed in Norwin and their lack of resources for students who are struggling. A student lost their life and they still don’t care. We have plenty of assemblies on cyber bullying and drugs, but what about mental health and how to get help? It affects so many kids in the high school and district and we still fail to talk about it enough. Truly disappointing.”

As individuals we must do our best to help those who are struggling, and know that by doing our part we are helping someone. Bringing awareness to this topic is crucial for our generation to change for the better. Our mental health affects everything that we do, and without that strong foundation, it can be extremely difficult for those who are dealing with mental health issues. The Norwin School District may have resources for their students, but more can be done, and should be.