Understanding Mental Health in Students

Mental health in high school is just as, if not more, important as physical health. From things as common as stress to more complex and difficult mental illnesses, high schoolers need to be educated on the topic of mental health.

 According to National Alliance on Mental Illness, over 20% of people ages 13 to 18 suffer from a mental illness. An even more distressing fact is that the third-leading cause of death for people aged 10 to 24 is suicide, and out of the people who die by suicide, over 90% of them have an underlying mental illness. Studies show kids with mental and emotional support do better in school. So why aren’t we talking about this in schools? Jr. High and High School aged kids are suffering every day, and yet discussing mental health in schools is unthinkable to many.

  The lack of understanding and knowledge about mental illnesses has led many young people to believe that suicide is the only answer. According to American Society for the Positive Care of Children, more teenagers and young adults die from suicide than from cancer, heart disease, AIDS, birth defects, stroke, pneumonia, influenza, and chronic lung disease combined.

 Suicide is an epidemic, and it seems to plague many. Over 40,000 people each year take their own lives. For young people, it is the second leading cause of death following unintentional accidents like car crashes, for 10-14 year olds in the country. Unfortunately, this number is increasing; it’s up to you to help someone in need to prevent this number from growing further.

 There are several signs to look for in people who may be depressed or contemplating suicide: not interacting with people, anger problems, mood swings, reckless behavior, and talking about death. If you notice these things, keep them in mind. If they display even more urgent warning signs such as giving away possessions, saying goodbye to loved ones, going from sad to calm, or planning suicide, you need to report them immediately to get the help the person needs. But don’t wait until that moment to offer your aid. Just being there to listen for a friend in need is a tremendous help.

 Recently, there was a meeting in Joplin planned by the city council to address the rise in suicides and what factors influenced it. It was discussed that suicide could be prevented if you know where to look. Be sure to treat others with kindness, and try to be aware of what they are going through.


CJHS Students Weigh In

 All of the responses for the mental health survey we sent out were phenomenal. The newspaper staff was blown away with the thoughtfulness of your responses and we’d like to thank you for participating in the making of this article.

  Some of the most popular ideas were as follows: allowing the use of headphones/music in class, mental health classes and/or more in depth discussion of mental health in existing classes, breaks aside from lunch throughout the day, therapists in school (not councilors), a mental health assembly/discussion, and a set amount of excused days off throughout the year for mental health.

  All of your ideas were so great, thank you to everyone who participated in pushing this issue into the light. Our goal is that one day this won’t be an issue that affects so many.