Infographic by Janessa Meza
There are many significant factors that must quickly be dealt with when it comes to mental health — especially within high school students. Mental health issues can consist of anxiety, mood swings, psychotic symptoms, eating habits or disorders, impulse-control and addiction, change in personality, obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress and many other disorders that severely affect your mental health. These are just some of the disorders that may be caused by intense stress from school or work.
According to the National Alliance on Mental Health, approximately 1 in 5 adults in the United States (43.8 million) experiences mental illness in a year. During that same year, approximately 1 in every 5 teenagers in school will have mental health problems. Grasping from those statistics, students in school will experience serious problems throughout the school year that will interfere with or even limit their activities at school and home. However, teens that have been diagnosed with mental health issues can practice many exercises to help improve or prevent these harmful issues.
A way to tackle some of these problems is to perform the following exercises: breathing, exercising, having a good nutrition, sleeping well, and not stressing out about problems that are not as significant. Teens with stressing problems can use these techniques to maintain a healthy mental lifestyle at school or at home. It is shown that 83% of teenagers say that school was somewhat or was a significant source of their stress according to a poll provided by the Washington Post.
Stress can have long and short-terms effects, for example, some long-term effects can be muscle tension, headaches, migraines, chronic muscles issues, and tension in your shoulders. Stress can also affect your respiratory system, a severe function that must be taken care of or life-threatening factors may follow.
When asked, Don Lugo High School students seem to agree on some of the leading causes of why they become mentally stressed. The teens interviewed agreed on 3 major reasons why they have stress on a daily basis: the amount of homework, preparation for important tests such as the SAT or ACT, and their grades. When it comes to Juniors, most of their stress is also accounted for by the requirements for college and the pressure of career options.
Within the school environment, procrastination is another leading cause of stress. Samantha Govea, one of the cheerleading captains at Don Lugo High School, explains, “My work not only stresses me out but so does my lack of wanting to do that work.” According to the Washington Post, 60% of teens say managing too many activities can be stressful.
Young adults at Don Lugo can be suffering from mental health issues and may not be willing to speak up and ask for help. Students at school may not want to speak up due to their peers speaking of them in such negative ways that can make them think low of themselves and invalidate their problems. The student-athletes from Don Lugo can have one of the biggest problems of mental health which is severe mental stress; many of them, especially the seniors, are stressing out about the college application process, keeping their grades up, and playing sports or even participating in clubs.
Three out of the four seniors interviewed stated that their stress all started the first few months of the school year trying to apply to the Cal States and UC’s. Senior Isabella stated that “having to apply to colleges and FAFSA just made me want to give up.” Seniors are feeling the agonizing pressure of becoming adults and knowing how to handle their mental health issues on their own.
But students are not the only ones who must come face to face with these horrible factors of stress, teachers can stress out too and sometimes it may be caused by their students. Government teacher Mr. Pope states that “having students who miss behave and answer back stress me out because I know that I will have to deal with them for a whole year.” To avoid this stress, teachers schedule a meeting with the troubled student’s counselor in order to work the situation out that can benefit both parties.
But no matter what factors play a role in a student’s mental health, getting help and having a healthy lifestyle can prevent any future consequences that may be life-threatening. Teenagers have a long life ahead of them and must all watch out for the signs and get the necessary help they need before it’s too late. Whether it’s help from a friend or a counselor, it is highly encouraged to ask for help if one feels they cannot provide it for themselves.
NOW Mental Health: 1-855-532-1102
Teen Line: 310-855-4673
National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI): 1-800-950-NAMI (6264)
U.S. Anxiety Hotline: 866-567-8352
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800-273-TALK (8255)