When we talk about issues of great importance to students, we would usually refer to things like academic performance, number of assignments, accountability, and many others. However, we must take into account those things that have been neglected by some educational policies. Even if the needs of the student are considered by many teachers, when referring to such a sensitive topic, we fail to understand the depth of what it means to maintain good mental health.
Mental health is defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as “Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make healthy choices.” (2021). This topic leads to different problems that can affect students both physically and mentally. It is necessary to be careful, because mental health can be decisive in many everyday situations. As we can see, mental health implies great significance for every stage of our lives, be it youth, adolescence, and adulthood. This captures many aspects that can define our future as human beings, for reasons such as this, it is recognized that it is important to start taking a step forward in the search for the improvement and stability of those exposed to these damages.
First of all, we must consider the possible causes of poor mental health. It is known that it’s hard to find out the problems that each person faces that can cause this instability in their attitudes, however, there is always a path to take to understand every part of these situations. It is worth mentioning that it is not always something external but can also include academic stress. This is a normal reaction that students usually present in front of diverse exigencies and demands such as exams, tests, assignments, among others. This feeling can motivate us to respond efficiently and quickly (eustress), but many times it has a negative effect that decreases our performance (distress). It is necessary to know that the demands that give rise to stress are of three types:
– Internal demands: This refers to the self-demand and the greater effort in search of fulfilling our achievements with high expectations. The risk comes when we live by the expectations of others, sometimes this can be seen as social pressure, which leads us to lose control of our lives, as Gustavo Razzettl (2018) says, “We allowed other people to influence or determine our choices– we are trying to please their expectations”.
– External demands: Those that are presented in our environment. These can be seen when we must hand in assignments, take exams, presentations in front of class, not having complete understanding of the contents addressed in the class, limited time, among others.
– Personal demands: Very similar to the external ones, however these directly influence your personal life. In other words, everything related to personal experiences, family problems, relationship issues, and many more.
As we can see, there are many causes of poor mental health, these are a risk for our person and can become the cause of mental illness.
Each individual has something that differs from others, for this reason there is no one solution that fits every person going through these problems. The most recommended are appointments with psychologists, family talks, communication with friends or someone who is able to listen, help, and come up with the best solution to your situation.
Many students are going through depression, anxiety, emotional disorders, and more. It is those who recognize that they need help that are offered different ways to help themselves. These mental illnesses are very prevalent in students going through difficult times in and out of the academic environment and we understand how complicated it is to deal with. For this reason, I interviewed two members of our CIS staff here at Wisdom – Amanda Zimmerman and Erika Ipina – who are in charge of providing mental help to our students and in a clinic that can be found next to the blue neighborhood. Students can go directly there, however, you can also speak with Amanda and Erika in the CIS room next to the main office.
It is important to note that those who recognize that they have a problem are the first to take action. For CIS, it is very valuable that the students show this interest. “The commitment of the student is important to receive the best care,” said Ipina. “It is this desire to improve that most ensures that our talks do their job.” Erika is also bilingual and speaks spanish, so she can also help our ESL student population.
The United States has a suicide rate of 16.1, with the male rate being 25 and the female rate being 7.5. Men are usually more closed minded than women, which may be a cause of this, and although we are basing this on a percentage, there are also introverted women who are unaware of their feelings. This can cause a very severe mental burden, which generates stress, anxiety and can lead to depression.
“We want everyone to know that we can help here at the school, usually a relationship is formed in counseling, which motivates us to help these students even more,” said Zimmermann. “We want you to know that there will always be someone there to listen and help, people care and want to give you a hand”.
CIS has been looking for better ways to communicate their services to students, but they want to invite you to consider their service, which only has one purpose – to help you. “It is very important to have selfcare and recognize that in order to receive help, you have to learn about yourself and your emotions”.
We remind you that there is a Baylor Health Clinic at our school next to the blue neighborhood. You can make an appointment there or depending on the severity of the issue, have an immediate discussion. However, we recommend going to the CIS room, they are open from 8:30 am to 4:00 pm. The counselors will talk with you and can help you meet the requirements to continue with these talks with parental consent. It is a free service for anyone, and we assure you that this can change your way of thinking and can help you in a big way.
We also wanted to give you some alternatives that you can do on your own, to help yourself a little bit. Depression can occur and it is critical to take action to avoid a radical decision such as suicide.
To improve your mental health, there are certain methods that can give you some support:
1. Exercise: This has many physical and mental benefits. It improves your mood, reduces stress, improves self-esteem, pride in physical activities, improves body image, increases your mental alertness, and many more.
2. Eat well: Having a balanced diet can help you physically and to think clearly. This helps you make better decisions and reduces fatigue.
3. Relaxation techniques: Things like meditation, yoga, and deep breathing can be useful.
4. Socializing and counseling: Talking to people can help you in many ways, if you surround yourself with positive friends and adults that want to hear from you, it can help you connect with others and find a solution for yourself.
These are the methods to try if you need to improve your mental health. Remember that you must first begin by recognizing that you need help. You don’t always have to solve everything on your own. All this weight can affect you in a big way. There are people who care about you and want to improve your situation. There are always people here who are willing to intervene, and we can assure you that they want the best for you. You are not alone!