High school is like a trial period to be adults. We start dealing with the time management and emotional maturity that comes with dealing with real life issues. In school, we manage expectations, difficult courses, extracurriculars, mental health, and developing socially. Managing all of this, on top of whatever we have going on in our personal lives can become overwhelming incredibly easily.
Going to a small school, I like to think I know most of the student body, and I can confidently say that most people I know have struggled with their mental health in some way or another.
A recent statistic from the National Institute of Health shows that about one in three teenagers experiences an anxiety disorder. It is easy to feel like your stress or internal struggles are not significant enough to talk to a professional about, but everyone deserves to have someone to truly listen to them, and someone who can give them clear and accurate advice that is not from another teenager’s point of view.
In the past, therapy has only really been common for people who absolutely need it. However, as public figures become more transparent with their struggles, conversations amongst peers and families about mental health should also become more common.
Therapy is not something that just needs to happen when someone is at a breaking point, it is completely healthy for us to have someone to talk to, who is there only to listen to us and help us through everything we are feeling.
I find that oftentimes people worry that there is a certain level of taboo around saying that they are “in therapy,” because in the past that would have greater implications. Today, as we try to value mental health as what it is — just as important as physical health — we need to release those stigmas to allow ourselves to heal as a whole.
Therapy itself can often be expensive, however, there are other options as well. Here at school we have school counselors, who are a part of the community to support us. Taking a break and reflecting on how we feel is more important than ever, as we try to take on the mounting pressure of being in high school.
The reality is, we are living through this time together, and we all handle and cope in our own ways. Talking to someone about this, should be something we are proud of and learn from, not something we are embarrassed about.