Mental Health Awareness month starts conversations

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provided by Kelsey Dreskin

Stabler D’Amore was the focus of attention in the lecture hall in November 2019 as part of the school's counseling session that presented information on how pets can help reduce anxiety. A 2016 survey found that 74 percent of people who owned a pet reported an improvement in their mental health.

Trisha Dasgupta, Staff Reporter

May is Mental Health Awareness month, and with the recent circumstances surrounding COVID-19, various campaigns have been working especially hard to bring the issue into light. 

“The outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) may be stressful for people,” the Center of Disease Control and Prevention said in a statement. “Fear and anxiety about a disease can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions in adults and children. Taking care of yourself, your friends, and your family can help you cope with stress.

Earlier this year, sophomore Shriya Senapathi co-founded @my.mindspeaks on Instagram, an account whose goal is to help provide resources and encouragement for students dealing with stress that could negatively impact their mental health.

“Right now times are really stressful and tough on everyone, and possibly even harder for those suffering silently with a mental illness, whether it be depression, anxiety, or anything,” Senapathi said via text. “I just want my account to kind of be a “safe space” if you will, and a reminder of hope for everyone.”

Senapathi believes that mental health is an issue that deserves to be talked about all the time, not just for one month every year. 

“Mental health is something that is often overlooked and sometimes even considered unnecessary, which is just not true,” Senapathi said. “It should be emphasized year long and not just this month because mental health is something that affects one’s thoughts, emotions, and behaviors, and overall social well-being.” 

In a survey conducted by the PEW research center, it was reported that seven in ten teens say that anxiety and depressive episodes are common in their peers, mental stresses that have been connected to academic and social pressures. 

“I think a lot of kids my age struggle with equating their self worth into their grades and test scores,” sophomore Hanl Brown said. “There’s the idea that if you don’t have perfect grades you’re not going to succeed in life, which I feel builds stress and anxiety.”

On top of academic stressors, Brown believes that social media has also negatively impacted high schoolers, just not in the way that some adults may think. 

“I think that social media can negatively impact mental health, but not in the way people talk about it,” Brown said. “Obviously seeing people who look ‘perfect’ by society’s standards messes with people, but it’s always been like that. I think the issue is that social media allows people to find content that matches their mental state. There is a significant amount of [eating disorder culture] on sites like tumblr and tiktok, which preys on teens who already have body issues. Taking away social media isn’t going to fix it, but working on the underlying issues that have been here [will help].”

 

Students who need support or someone to talk to about issues or concerns about either their own, or a classmate’s mental health can reach out to their counselor through their website:  https://sites.google.com/a/friscoisd.org/lhs-counselor-corner/