Mental health at FHS, part 3: Possible solutions

Bethany Bergschneider, Editor

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At some time in our lives, we’ve all faced a daunting problem. Facing adversity is something we all have in common as part of the human race. Still, as we all know, mental health has been a tough and sometimes uncomfortable topic to deal with.

However, in order to make progress, we have to start somewhere; in this case, we have to start by having a conversation about mental health. While discussing the issue, Hannah Marcel, Zoe Graves, and Kacey Tillery all mentioned Mrs. Slaughterback–the mental health projects her health classes have done, including the ‘end the stigma’ posters.

Mrs. Slaughterback says that the ultimate goal of all her teaching on mental health is to increase awareness. Some classroom work about mental health might not seem like it would go far, but she says that she has noticed it affecting students. “After covering that information, I can see certain students start to open up to me a little more and maybe be a little more comfortable… because they know they’re not bad people, that mental illness is something that doesn’t make a person crazy. Many more people suffer from it than anyone ever realizes, and I think students kind of start to see that.”

Caly Davidson, a senior, thinks that assemblies and programs are good ways to make progress on the issue, which is something that Ms. Griffith, our school social worker, mentioned as a way to increase awareness. “I was really hoping that at some point we would be able to have an outside speaker come in to present, maybe by grade level, on different mental health topics, maybe bullying prevention, more about suicide prevention and signs to look out for.”

Marcel had ideas about promoting mental health resources outside of school. “We should advertise mental health awareness, obviously, and that we have resources, but to me, it would be more likely for students to talk about that stuff if you advertise things like suicide hotlines.”

The National Suicide Prevention Hotline is available at all times and can be reached at 1-800-273-8255, but it’s not the only resource of that type available. If someone doesn’t feel comfortable calling a hotline, the Crisis Text Line is available for a person to talk to trained volunteers at any time. Sending a text to ‘741741’ can connect the sender with someone to talk to within about five minutes.

The text line isn’t just for those who are suicidal; it is meant to be available for anyone who is dealing with some type of mental health concern, or, as the Crisis Text Line website puts it, “painful emotion for which you need support.” This can be anxiety, depression, substance abuse, sexual assault, or any other situation that would cause someone to reach out for help. According to the Crisis Text Line, “The Crisis Counselor will help you sort through your feelings by asking questions, empathizing, and actively listening. The goal of any conversation is to get you to a calm, safe place. Sometimes that means providing you with a referral to further help, and sometimes it just means being there and listening.”

Mental health is a big topic to tackle, and it can be overwhelming to try to find ways to get help. In this situation, simply knowing what we can do to help is half the battle. Regardless of how big or small the solutions are, there are many ways we can work together to make FHS a more positive and accepting environment for all types of mental health concerns.

Works Cited

Gregory, Alice. “R U There?” The New Yorker. https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/02/09/r-u. Accessed 17 December 2018.

TED. “Nancy Lublin: Texting that saves lives.” Youtube, talk by Nancy Lublin, TED, 27 April 2012, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LiUClSItcy0.

“How does Crisis Text Line Work?” Crisis Text Line. https://www.crisistextline.org/texting-in. Accessed 17 December 2018.

“General Information Page.” The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/. Accessed 17 December 2018.

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Mental health at FHS, part 3: Possible solutions