Students struggling with mental health have wide-ranged options for help


Psychology Today

Photo used under Creative Commons Licensing.

Tyler Misencik, Photography Editor


Mental health is to be considered a wide range of many different issues. According to MentalHealth.Gov, “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 choices.” Mental health is a wide umbrella of different issues with many various concerns and a variety of different symptoms that come with each disability. 70% of youth in the juvenile justice system have a diagnosed mental illness.

  “I feel very strongly there is a stigma of mental health problems that have come a long way, but are still there,” said Ms. Suleski, the middle school guidance counselor, who experiences mental health issues with students every day.

Some mental illnesses include anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and schizophrenia. According to, mental illnesses can be caused by many different scenarios such as your genes and family history, biological factors such as chemical imbalances in the brain, having a severe medical condition like cancer, a mother’s exposure to viruses or toxic chemicals while pregnant, and your life experiences, such as stress or a history of abuse, especially if they happen in childhood. More than 22% of American adolescents will have a diagnosable mental illness before they turn 18.

If you have symptoms of empathy, not being able to pay attention in class, guilt, hopelessness, loss of interest or pleasure in activities, mood swings, or sadness, you are not the only one experiencing these feelings. According to the U.S. Surgeon General, one in five children and adolescents will face a significant mental health condition during their school years. An excellent way to cope with these symptoms is by speaking to a parent, guardian, school guidance counselor, therapist, or even a sibling.

At Freedom Area School District, there are many resources as well that could help students if they are feeling this way. Some resources for students are school guidance counselors, a Student Assistance Program, which is a helpful team of trained teachers that can help students, as well as families with barriers, and a crisis hotline “741741” where you can confidently text a crisis counselor at any time of the day. There are also apps on your mobile phone that you can purchase called SAM. “SAM” is a healthy app with step by step guidance to help you with things such as anxiety or any other feelings.

If you are ever afraid of talking to someone, you are not alone in any way. According to Ms. Barb Martz, Prevention Specialist at Freedom Area School District, there are many reasons students why students may be afraid to talk to adults about a situation or feeling. 

“In the case of bullying, most children being bullied just want it to stop. They don’t want to be labeled a ‘nark’ or ‘snitch.’ To them, that will make things worse and give another reason to be bullied. It is important to note that telling isn’t narking, and if no one is aware of a situation that is occurring, there is no way to solve it.” said Martz. 

If you do not believe anyone can help you with the way you feel, that is entirely false. With reaching out to someone, they may see things that you don’t. The best thing to do is to reach out to a professional that has training in helping children as well as adults.  

In case of an emergency where you are going to injure yourself contact the suicide prevention hotline. 1-800-273-8255