By Amanda Dronzek
Nobody will ever know what it’s like to be in someone else’s mind. The closest anyone can get to someone else is through communication. Although, kids tend to shut down that outlet as they go through their teenage years, when communication is the most important. They block out support from others and let their thoughts consume them. Then, when something really bad happens to them because they weren’t able to reach out for help, people look the other way. Mental health issues in teenagers are climbing the ranks, becoming more prominent every day. Unfortunately, many people just don’t understand the magnitude of dealing with anxiety, depression, or other mental illnesses. Teens are reluctant as it is to discuss their feelings with adults, and even though schools claim they’re doing everything possible to ensure students get help, they aren’t.
Assemblies and fliers discussing the significance of mental instability isn’t going to solve the issues going on world wide in teenagers. There’s numerous reasons as to why teens refuse to share their experiences with others, and it’s mainly out of fear. They fear what counselors will tell them if they speak up, or fear that their parents will dismiss their symptoms and pretend that nothing is wrong. Putting up a sign with a help hotline isn’t going to break this stigma. There needs to be school wide representation. Courses diving deeper into psychology, to better educate teachers and students who don’t understand how critical it is to comprehend what other people are going through. Being able to understand what’s going on in someone’s head can make them more likely to seek help if they know they’re not alone.
At school, teens feel like nobody experiences their troubles, and the only time they feel like people care is when a student ends up in a serious situation that affects the entire community. Even then, teachers and administrators appear ignorant and find a way to pretend nothing is wrong. But there is, and kids growing up in this society need to be more vigilant, as do adults. People with authority need to start spreading more awareness, find ways to teach people about mental health and what it looks like in teenagers and young adults. As a community, we need to push for more representation and make mental health a top priority in this town. Do you ever wonder why your kids are so worried all the time? Why can’t they sleep, can’t concentrate?
The stress today’s world has put on children is astronomical. The fear of not being good enough consumes high school students especially, and puts their mental state at risk. One way you can help lower the stress and tension that teenagers feel is by joining the Mental Health SubCommittee in East Greenwich. This is a way to get involved, and delve into the minds of kids who are silently suffering because they feel like nobody will ever listen and to understand what they’re feeling. With over 90 members working to improve the emotional and mental of students in East Greenwich, the Mental Health Committee has made their best efforts to make EG a more positive environment. Over the summer, the Health Task Force met virtually to discuss how to help students around the schools. Led by Caorlyn Mark, the previous Chair of the School Committee, teachers, administrators, school psychologists, health care workers, and parents attended these meetings.
I spoke with one of the members, Heather Bristol, who explained the benefits of being a part of this group. “We discussed a variety of topics related specifically to the mental health and well-being of our community’s children, teachers, staff and families.” This year the Committee has seen over 90 members attend regularly. Bristol added, “The meetings provide the community with links to mental health resources, strategies, and services which can be critical in offering support to individuals and/word families who are struggling with mental health concerns.” As a concerned parent or student, joining the Mental Health Committee in EG is essential to helping yourself and those around you who struggle every day with mental health issues. Be a part of the change, and come join before something happens that you can’t stop.