Mental Health Causes Major Issues in High School

Staff Reporter - Katie Clawson

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Starting high school is typically very hard on teens. There are new people, new environment, new teachers, mixed with all the people you are already used to. The latter still doesn’t change the fact that every student is a little anxious to go into high school. What people should be focusing on is the individuals who have been diagnosed with mental illnesses such as Depression, OCD, PTSD, Bipolar Disorder, Eating Disorders, Anger Issues, Psychosis, and ADHD.

Many students in high school try to avoid the judgment from their peers by staying quiet about a mental illness they might have and how it affects their lives. There is a social stigma around mental illnesses in high school which makes it scary to seek help. “50% of lifetime mental illnesses begin at age 14”, as stated by NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness). “50% of students 14 years with mental illness or older dropout of school”. The topic of mental illness is avoided in school especially by a student’s peers. There are many stigmas around mental health, which is why no child is comfortable with coming forward with their issues.

Mental illnesses can affect students significantly. Teens can become depressed in many ways such as just having too much or too little of a certain brain chemical, having a family history of depression in the family, or traumatic experiences such as death or divorce. As stated by MHA (Mental Health America), “Depression can be difficult to diagnose in teens because adults may expect teens to act moody”. Children don’t know how to express their feelings very well. They also may not be aware of the symptoms of depression, so they may not even realize they are affected by depression. This can be a serious and life threatening problem that may go unnoticed.

One of the teachers at Caddo Mills High school, Ashley Gusukuma, has a degree in Psychology. We asked her a few questions on mental illnesses in a classroom setting such as how many mental illnesses has she seen in her career. We also asked if she can distinguish between a self-diagnosed person and those who are diagnosed by a professional, and lastly, what the most commonly seen illnesses in teens are. Her response to these questions were that she “rarely sees mental illness” in a classroom setting, “Students have usually learned how to cope with issues by the time they reach high school and go through great lengths to hide it from peers and teachers. Many just want to be seen as normal. The ones I do see are usually outside of the classroom.” she has also stated that she has seen quite a few mental illnesses in her career. She answered our last question about self diagnoses by stating, “Most self diagnoses are incorrect. It takes years of school and time in clinics working with professionals to be able to correctly diagnose mental health disorders.” She stated that, “The most commonly seen mental illness in teens is depression or anxiety.”

When teens first enter high school, it can be scary and full of anxiety. We do not know everyone’s story and everyone has been through some kind of pain. This is why if someone you know is going through a life threatening mental disorder, speak out or help them by telling an adult or talking to them and making them feel wanted. If you feel lonely or suicidal, speak to a trusted adult or visit this website to get help Someone cares about you, so before you think of doing something you will regret, reach out and get help. Your life matters.     

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Mental Health Causes Major Issues in High School