Mental health at FHS, part 2: Awareness

Bethany Bergschneider, Editor

Mental health–it’s not exactly the easiest issue to talk about. However, in order to address an important topic, we may need to go outside of our comfort zones. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (2015), 20% of students aged 13-18 have or will have a mental illness. To think about it a different way, if five kids were pulled out of a typical high school classroom, one of them does or will deal with mental health issues. With these kinds of statistics, the issue of mental health in high schools obviously deserves attention.

Caly Davidson, senior, thinks mental health awareness at FHS needs to increase. “I feel like people just make fun of mental health problems rather than embracing them and trying to help people with them.”

Hannah Marcel, also a senior, agrees. “I think that there’s awareness about mental health, but I think a lot of people are just like, ‘Oh, mental health, I know it’s there.’ I don’t believe there’s as much of a problem as there used to be, but I also feel like it’s not a positive awareness.”

Mrs. Slaughterback, who teaches health classes that include curricula about mental health, has similar feelings. “I think that it is a topic that doesn’t get talked about as much as it should. There’s a stigma on mental health, that it’s such a bad thing, but so many people suffer from it and don’t feel like they can really be open about it because they feel like they’re going to be judged.”

“A lot of times, in our school, it’s kind of ignored,” says junior Kacey Tillery. “I think when people bring it up, you just kind of push it away and start talking about something new. It’s not a happy topic to talk about a lot of times, so people want to ignore it because they don’t want to think about the sad things.”

Although we have both Mr. Tabeek and Ms. Griffith, both licensed counselors, here to provide help to students who need it, students aren’t necessarily taking advantage of those resources. In fact, some of the students who were interviewed weren’t even aware that they can use these resources if they need to.

“I guess I knew [about Mr. Tabeek and Ms. Griffith] in the back of my head, but it’s not really advertised,” says Marcel.

Zoe Graves and Kacey Tillery both had similar thoughts. “I feel like if you weren’t in it [counseling], you don’t really know about it,” said Graves, a sophomore. “Especially not being taught about it and not having people tell you that you have this help available. You don’t just automatically know that these people are who you go to,” Tillery added.

Works Cited

“Mental Health Facts.” National Alliance on Mental Illness. Accessed 14 November 2018.