January 2018 Staff Editorial: Mental health is important to discuss


Sydney Evans

PRIORITIES. As homework, sports, work, and personal responsibilities pile up, taking care of one’s mental health can fall to the bottom of the list. Yet, regularly neglecting mental and emotional health has dire consequences. Mindfulness and attentiveness to your own health and that of other’s will have meaningful results in the long run.

Mental health is an issue scarcely talked about in our society. Unlike physical injuries, mental health is not immediately, or in some cases ever, visible. Thus, these issues in adolescents are often dismissed and written off as “teenage angst.”

Feeling sad or anxious is a normal part of any person’s life, but, as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), mental disorders are “generally characterized by dysregulation of mood, thought, and/or behavior” and affect a person’s normal functioning of daily life.

Unfortunately, mental health issues are so prevalent they touch each and every one of us, directly or indirectly.

It is clear that mental health is getting worse for adolescents–specifically, depression has seen an uptick in recent years, especially for girls (who are doubly at risk for depression than boys)– yet access to care is limited.

A study published in “Pediatrics” found that there was a 37 percent increase between 2005 and 2014 of teens who reported having a major depressive episode (MDE) in the past 12 months.

In fact, NPR did a series on teen mental health in 2016, and the data was shocking. They called this mental health crisis “A Silent Epidemic,” and for good reason: there are 50 million public school students in the United States, and as many as 1 in 5 show signs of a mental health disorder.

Nearly 80 percent of these students will not get the treatment they need– which significantly impacts their school work, relationships, and lives in general.

Yet, it is important to remember that disorders like anxiety and depression are treatable– what matters is seeking help and treatment to get better. There are opportunities to get support both in and out of the school.

Being informed and conscious of mental health risks and signs is valuable to all of us, which is why we must continue to encourage honest dialogue on the issue.