Bringing light to mental health

Trinity Williams

By Trinity Williams, Liberty High School - TX

According to Polaris, approximately one in five teens ages 12 to 18 suffer from at least one mental health disorder.  

But in years past mental health wasn’t talked about openly.

However, its importance to one’s overall well-being is no longer questioned. 

“Mental health is just as important as physical health,” school nurse Lindsey McDavid said. “You can’t feel well physically and people can see that and be objective about that by checking fevers or seeing if they’re in pain or a sore throat. But it’s not that easy to use that with mental health. It is just as important with your well being to take care of your mental health.”

For many people, feeling physically sick warrants a trip to the doctor, and McDavid says people should do the same thing if they are dealing with a mental health issue.  

“I think it’s just really important for people to ask for help when they need it and not be ashamed of it because a lot of people have been struggling with it especially after COVID and after being home for a year,” McDavid said. “For those who were home and even those who were at school it was tough for everybody because it was such a different year last year, so it’s okay to struggle and ask for help.”

Mental health is important to senior Katie Stone who isn’t afraid to take a school day off to help her recharge and reset. 

“Because a lot of people have other factors going into their life like extracurriculars and jobs on the weekends and they never have time to just take it for themselves and just take a break,” Stone said. “Taking mental health days during the week rather than weekdays can be very helpful because I am still on the school schedule like I wake up early, I’ll get my room clean, I’ll do my laundry and start working on my assignments, and then I’m productive and my friends are at school so it’s not like I’m hanging out with a bunch of friends, I’m really just working on myself.” 

Taking a mental health day has helped senior Robbie Violante and for him, it’s important to know and recognize that other people may also struggle at one point or another. 

“Mental health has become a personal issue to me as I’ve gone through life and talked to people who think it should be the focus of all of us because everyone has what they’re dealing with their own difficulties and their own baggage,” Violate said. “And having both empathy and understanding that everybody’s going through something different and the more that we shine a light on how the sort of intricacies of mental health and how it affects all of us I think that it’s going to lead to a lot of improvement of how we understand each other and operate.”

This story was originally published on Wingspan on January 26, 2022.