Mental Illness Is More Than Being ‘Just Sad’

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Maria Devroy, Staff Writer

When you are born you cry, you cry because it is the most pain that you have ever experienced. As a student in high school, everything is new and can be just as painful and stressful as that first breath of air. Many students struggle in the environment they are thrown into as a teenager, as it truly is the worst pain they have ever felt, and in a high school pass or fail situation, it can be mind boggling.

The stresses of high school take a toll on students. Issues are created that are more pressing than sadness or stress, and these short-term emotions manifest into personal crises otherwise known as anxiety and depression. Whether the issues are from family or personal issues, teens can develop mental illnesses that have the possibility of major life-long consequences.

“Usually [at FHC], it’s the beginnings of mental health issues,” FHC counselor Teresa Miller said. “What we see [at FHC] are things like depression or anxiety, and some of that has to do with things like friends or school pressures. Since depression is clinical, it could’ve been something they got from a parent, family member, or life circumstances.”

With 20% of teenagers struggling with mental stability, 8% with an anxiety disorder, 11% with mood disorders, and 10% with a behavior or conduct behavior disorder, the list of mental struggles is nearly endless and an epidemic has begun. What in the world could cause such an outbreak of sick teenagers?

Teenagers are struggling at monumental rates, and everyone can come up with their own theories, but there is no hard, factual evidence to prove that one concrete thing causes anxiety, depression, or bipolar disorder, etc. Students can not understand why they feel alone and emotionlessly numb, or are constantly in an inexplicable, seemingly never-ending state of panic. The lack of education and answer deficit leaves teens in a state of wondering if they are alone in their endeavors. However, it is evident that they cannot be alone.

“I think that schools need to educate teens more on mental illnesses and how to deal with them because they aren’t going away,” an FHC sophomore said. “A school is supposed to be a safe zone, yet it doesn’t even put much effort into something that affects a majority of its pupils. Last year, we had a ‘mental health awareness week,’ but I don’t think it lived up to the potential it needed to reach in order to fully educate the students.”

The incline of unpredictability and teenage struggles increases the importance of the role that parental figures play in a young person’s life. A healthy school environment, along with healthy thinking, can play an integral part of a student’s well-being, but if their home situation drowns the teen in stress and unrealistic expectations of perfection, then the results can cause detrimental effects to students’ health.

“Parents’ intentions are good and honorable, but I don’t think the result is,” an FHC student’s mom said. “Each person is put on Earth with their own path, and you can support and encourage, but [you can’t] force somebody down a path that may not be theirs. There are all different ways to show value in this society and academics may not be one of them.”

The most simplistic human right is the right to happiness. Searching for happiness can be a hardship in and of itself.

“No matter how many times you say you’re alone, you’re not,” an FHC student said. “The amount of people dealing with mental illnesses is uncountable. It’s so important to let everyone know that you’ll help support them through their troubles, regardless of who they are because the chances are high that you’ve needed people to be there for you when you felt like a screw-up before.”