While April showers bring May flowers, May brings mental health awareness month! Students all around Buffalo High School have seen posters in the hallways, pamphlets in the counselor’s office, and hear their peers expressing their issues more often than not these days. As awareness grows, so does the number of people coming forward about their experiences and their knowledge of it. Anxiety disorders affect 18.1% of the population in the United States, and the number grows every year.
School counselor Mark Jones spoke about mental health in students at BHS.
“I think in the last five years there’s just been more of an onset of anxiety and depression and of course we’re not doctors, so we don’t diagnose those things but yet we are trained and very aware of how to work with teenagers with anxiety and depression.” Jones stated. “We know that kids spend a big bulk of their day at school so we try to do what we can to make sure that school can be safe, supportive, and yet still be a school.”
As Jones said, mental health can be a hard thing to deal with when you have school, a job, after school activities, or anything else on a daily basis. We sent out a survey asking a variety of questions about how mental health affects students lives and what they think we should do about its awareness. Students responded, and 52% claimed that they are clinically diagnosed with some form of mental illness. Out of 25 people answering a question on the survey, only one claimed that they don’t know someone who is diagnosed with a mental health condition, and over nine people knew at least 10 people who had one.
“I don’t think that people who don’t have mental health conditions realize how exhausting it is just to do everyday things that seem so simple. It’s this constant fighting with yourself to to do better, to be better, to feel better, to not feel like a burden to those around you. You constantly remind yourself to breathe, and in those moments where you don’t have to it’s a lightness that you don’t feel at any other time,” Sophomore Melanie Linzbach typed in response to the survey. “Mental health, while it can be excruciating, is also just a part of life some of us have to deal with, whether it be medicine, or therapy (which I personally believe everyone should try), or something else, it is possible to live with, even though it doesn’t always feel like it. It is something that you can’t show but almost always feel. However, it can be better, but you have to choose to get better.”
Another student entered a response about mental health anonymously.
“Mental illness is such a suppressed topic. As a society we tend to keep mental illness in the dark. This creates a huge problem because a large percentage of our population is greatly affected by mental illness. Because we leave mental illness in the dark, those who have these disorders tend to shy away from talking about it or seeking help for their illness.”
As this month comes to an end, keep it in your daily lives to be kind, and to remember mental health is important not only these 31 days, but everyday.