By: Jasmine Wolfe
The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) states that one in five teenagers have a mental health condition, creating a challenge for teens to deal with mental health issues. March 2nd is World Teen Mental Wellness Day, putting the spotlight on the problems affecting teenagers and their families struggling to offer help and understand their loved one’s challenges and raise greater awareness of mental health issues among teens. This day also provides education about removing stigmas surrounding preventative mental health. Did you know that teens experience the greatest difficulties surrounding mental health compared to every other generation? Teens have the highest levels of stress, anxiety, and depression.
The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that half of all mental health issues start by the time a child reaches the age of 14. Sadly, most cases are neither diagnosed nor treated by that time. When a person is concerned about their mental health, seeing a licensed counselor or physician is essential for obtaining a correct diagnosis. Self-diagnosing is not an effective way to treat potential problems. Ignoring a problem in hopes that it will “go away” on its own is tempting to many young people and worried parents.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness says if you suspect something is wrong there are ways you can help. Some ways to help are by letting the mentally ill know they are cared for and focus on being nonjudgmental, compassionate and understanding. Involve trusted friends, parents, or even the school counselor for help. If one is concerned about a friend, then try to find someone who might understand your friend’s situation or be able to help. Just being there for your friend could be helpful, oftentimes you may feel helpless or like you don’t know what to say or do to “fix” things. Many times, just sitting with someone, being available to talk to them, and having a sympathetic ear is a great relief to people who are struggling.
If you are struggling with mental health there’s a lot of ways to maintain or improve it. Different people like to hang out with friends and family and others like to do things by themselves. Some good ways to take your mind off things are reading, writing, drawing, painting, going on walks or runs, and sitting outside. Ashley Kijowski, a student in ADT, was asked what are some good ways to maintain good mental health. Her respond was “I enjoy running it gives me time to myself to just enjoy the world around me and collect my thoughts”. Mrs. Betts, a history teacher, was asked the same question and she responded with, “I think it is very important to find activities that you enjoy that you can do daily to help you de-stress and relax. Even if it’s only for 15 minutes, find time to do something you enjoy each day! Also, it is so important to go rest each day!”.