Helping With Mental Illness

Emily Reece Melendrez and Nevaeh Joy Martinez

Mental illness refers to a wide range of mental health conditions — disorders that affect your mood, thinking and behavior. Examples of mental illness include depression, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, eating disorders and addictive behaviors. Many people have mental health concerns. Mental illnesses can affect many in different ways and can have many different outcomes. There isn’t really a cure for mental health conditions, but there is help for people cope with their illness.

Many go to therapist or take prescription drugs to help cope. Others think illegal drugs, drinking, or do random dangerous things for adrenaline. All ages can go through this at any time. Mental illness does not just come and go; it’s a chemical in the brain that affects the mind and body. “One in four people in the world will be affected by mental or neurological disorders at some point in their lives. Around 450 million people currently suffer from such conditions, placing mental disorders among the leading causes of ill-health and disability worldwide,” according to mental illness statistics.

The biggest issue with helping out students with mental illness is how schools deal with them. Students sometimes show some symptoms of mental illness while in school, but sometimes they hide their illness well. Some students self-harm, use drugs, drink, to cope.  Many students don’t go to anyone for help because they are afraid of being judged, disowned, being left by family or friends.

“I think helping students feel comfortable and safe in our school is also very important,” said Dobie orchestra teacher Mr.Lovelace. “I don’t think they should be forced to [speak to a counselor] if they don’t want to, but if it does seem to be affecting a student and is clearly shown such as self harm and change of  behavior then it should be reported.”

Some helpful tips about mental health include:

  • Recognize the warning signs for mental health problems and whom to turn to, such as the principal, school nurse, school psychiatrist or psychologist, or school social worker.
  • If you have questions or concerns about a student’s behavior, educate staff, parents, and students on symptoms of and help for mental health problems.
  • Promote social and emotional competence and build resilience, help ensure a positive, safe school environment, teach and reinforce positive behaviors and decision-making, and encourage helping others.

 

Resources:

Home | MentalHealth.gov

Suicide Prevention – Mental Health Call 1-800-273-8255