Students reflect on Mental Health issues they faced this school year

Morgan Johns, Staff Writer

Throughout the month of May, people acknowledge Mental Health Month and educate themselves on what mental health is.
According to the American Heart Association, the month of May helps to raise awareness and reduce stigma for people who live with mental health issues.
As the school year comes to a close, many students reflect on what this year has been like and how they have struggled with mental health issues.
Junior Megan Gronwall says that she has experienced an increase in anxiety this year due to the pandemic and turning in work on time.
Gronwall isn’t alone in dealing with anxiety due to school work.
“When we went back after Christmas break, school was really hard and my dad got on me,” junior Elizabeth Brown said. “I was in a very deep state and I stopped eating for a week.”
Though many struggle with their mental health, there are coping mechanisms that can help.
Junior Claire Oakes said that she has been diagnosed with multiple mental health issues, but takes medication to help manage them.
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, it takes time for people to find the right coping mechanisms, but people can be positively impacted once they find the right mechanism.
“When it was colder out, I definitely liked to color or just listen to music,” Gronwall said. “Since it’s been warmer, I like to either run or just take walks.”
Brown said that her way of coping is to block everyone out and stop thinking about it.
As mental health struggles increase in the United States, some feel that the U.S. should be doing more to help those who need it.
According to NAMI, every year, 1 in 6 U.S. children experience a mental health disorder.
Brown, Oakes and Gronwall all said they think the U.S. is not doing enough to help with the uprising in mental health issues.
“They don’t take it seriously enough,” Oakes said. “I think it is ignored and people don’t pay attention to mental health issues in school or the workplace.”
As people continue to struggle with mental health, it is important to have someone to go to, so that when they need support they have it.
“I just go to my mom because she just understands and she is very open to listening to everything,” Gronwall said. “I just trust her.”
Oakes said that she asks her mom, boyfriend or friends for support when she needs it.
However, for some the pandemic has only made their mental health issues worse.
According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, many people’s mental health have been negatively affected and new barriers have been created for people who already have mental health disorders because of the pandemic.
Gronwall also believes the pandemic has made it harder for people to support one another.
“I think that Covid [created] strange relationships and made it harder for people to communicate how they feel, and it isolated a lot of people,” Gronwall said. “I feel like there was a lack of communication, so people couldn’t communicate their feelings with other trusted adults or teachers or even friends because they couldn’t see them.”
However, Oakes disagrees and has a different perspective on it. Oakes said she believes that because the pandemic has left people stuck inside with others, there has been even more support.
An important part of dealing with mental health is for people to support others who are experiencing the same struggles as them.
“I check up on people regularly, ask them how they are doing, and if there is anything I can do to support them as best as I can,” Gronwall said.
Overall, it is important for people to take care of themselves when they are struggling, in addition to supporting others when necessary.
According to the CDC, staying connected to others and focusing on yourself allows you to be able to help others.