Mental Health Awareness Month

Mental Health Awareness Month

Kate Ryle, Staff writer

Mental health is a topic that is sensitive for some, but also powerful and important to talk about. Approximately 26% of Americans 18 or older suffer from a mental health issue. Of course, these are just statistics. Many people below the age of 18 suffer just the same. This topic should never be something anyone is ashamed about or embarrassed of. It’s Mental Health Awareness Month and it’s time to continue this conversation!

Let’s start out with some mental health myths, followed by facts!

Mental Health Myths The Facts
Mental health struggles are uncommon Mental health struggles are in fact very common, nearly 1 in 5 adults/teens in the U.S. struggle with a mental health issue. It’s normal!
Mental health problems are a sign of weakness Absolutely not! If anything, having a mental health problem makes you stronger. It takes a lot of strength to fight and sometimes to even just get out of bed. Be proud of yourself for getting through each day.
Mental health problems are permanent  Nope! Although some mental health issues can only be cured with medication, and will still technically exist, that doesn’t mean you have to suffer through the symptoms forever. There are plenty of ways to work through mental illnesses to come out on the other side.
Seeing a therapist is a sign of weakness Big no! Seeing a counselor or therapist can be so incredibly effective, and shows that you’re willing to seek help for the problem being experienced. Being able to admit to needing help and taking the action to get it shows willpower and strength!
Mental health problems don’t negatively affect relationships Speaking from personal experience, mental health issues can definitely affect relationships. It can be hard on a family to watch their child suffer, it can be hard for a friend to see their friend suffer, and it can be hard to see a romantic partner suffer. No one likes seeing the one they care about in pain. 

 

Mental health can affect everyone, but it can take quite a toll on students and their studies. According to The American College Health Association 2015 survey, college students identified that mental health negatively affected their performance in school and academics.

  • Stress (30% of students)
  • Anxiety (22%)
  • Sleep difficulties (20%)
  • Depression (14%)

Another important point with student mental health is that it can cause a rift between teacher/student relationships, and the student’s ability to finish assignments or even graduate school. Teachers DO notice if a student is acting differently or not turning in their work when they usually do. It can be difficult to combat a mental health issue and still have the motivation to finish work when it needs to be done.

Nearly 30 THS students participated in an anonymous online survey on mental health. It was important to keep this survey anonymous to ensure that everyone feels safe and assured when giving their information. Everyone’s voice deserves to be heard! Here are the questions that were asked and their results:

  1. Have you ever struggled with your mental health (anxiety, depression, OCD, etc.)? 64% answered yes, 21% answered no, and 14% answered maybe.
  2. Have you ever sought help for these problems? 60% answered yes, 25% answered no, 7% answered maybe, and 7% answered no because of not having an option to reach out for help.
  3. If you have sought help, what are the steps you took? If you haven’t, why not? The majority of students answered that they talked to their parents and seeked out therapy, started medication with the aid of a doctor, and went to friends for help and support. Few people either did not need help, or have not been able to get it yet.
  4.  Have you been officially diagnosed with a mental health disorder ever in your life? 39% answered yes, 50% answered no, and 3.6% answered “other.”
  5. How do you combat mental health challenges when they arise (i.e. what is your solution to dealing with anxiety when it arises, for example)? To this question, students answered that they draw, workout, talk to a therapist or friend, count, use deep breathing, lean on faith in God, listen to music, or take time for themselves. Some of these students expressed that they are still learning ways!
  6. Have any of these problems worsened due to the Covid-19 pandemic and isolation? 50% answered yes, 14% answered no, and 32% answered maybe.

These results were very interesting to read! It’s clear that everyone has some sort of struggle, and that nobody is alone. A lot of these answers were helpful and encouraging to read. It’s amazing to see people speak out!

With May coming to an end, it is important to shed light on this month’s topic. We’ve even gathered information from THS students! Mental health issues are more common than most people think. It can be hard to talk about how we feel, but it’s important to show each other that we are not alone, and that we can fight this battle together!

 

Sources:

https://www.sprc.org/colleges-universities/consequences 

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/medical-myths-mental-health-misconceptions