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Mental Health and Why it Matters

Jan. 30, 2022 American model, Cheslie Kryst, sadly took her life. In the eyes of the public, Chelsie was a beautiful, kind, and smart woman, not only was she crowned Miss U.S.A in 2019, but before winning Miss U.S.A she was also an attorney fighting for social justice. Even though Kryst was a very prominent influencer, many of her followers and family did not know her internal struggles. As a society, we all have this mindset that because someone's life looks perfect on the outside, mentally that person is never struggling. Social media now is the main reason for this mindset. People now love to use apps such as Instagram, TikTok, and even Snapchat as a highlight reel, only showing the good that happens in their life. As humans we all have this idea that what we see on the outside is what we would see on the inside. We think how could this person possibly be struggling; they have everything? However, this thought could not be further from the truth.

Mental health illnesses such as depression and anxiety do not discriminate. Anyone can be affected by mental health illnesses. Research has estimated that about 280,000,000 people suffer from depression worldwide. Around 20 percent of teenagers will be diagnosed with clinical depression before they reach adulthood. Children from the ages of 3-17, approximately 7.1%, were diagnosed with anxiety. In 2019 a study showed that 18.8% of high school students considered suicide, and 8.9% had actually attempted suicide. Due to the global pandemic, depression rates tripled within the first year, sadly that number has not decreased by much in 2022.

To be able to fight depression, knowing exactly what it is, is a major factor. Many people view depression simply as being “lazy.” Just know that is not accurate. Depression is a medical condition that needs to be taken very seriously. Some symptoms of depression could be: changes in eating, irritable moods, low self- image, panic attacks, and suicidal thoughts. Those are only a few of the many signs of depression.

Though recovering from depression is neither quick or easy, you do have to start somewhere. Depression is different for everyone, so be proud of the little things you are able to accomplish. Remember that everyone does struggle with emotions throughout their lives, it is completely normal. Accepting that you need help and having those people you trust is very important. Even though you may feel alone, just know you can always talk to a favorite teacher, school counselor, or in some cases a school therapist. In situations like this it is also very crucial to remember to take care of your body. Exercising is not only good for you physically but mentally as well, because it relieves stress by increasing the “feel good” chemicals in your brain such as dopamine and endorphins. Picking up hobbies such as reading, drawing, or going for daily nature walks are other healthy outlets. Apps have also been designed to help manage emotions, these apps being Headspace, Calm, and Antistress are other good resources to use. Lastly, please remember that you are never alone! Karen Collins, one of our school psychologists shared, “Time never goes back nor does it stand still, so whatever you are feeling or thinking at this moment, it will change.” To that fact alone just know there is always hope, so please never be afraid to reach out to anyone for help!

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-TALK (8255) or text TN to 741741

Reach out to trusted adults such as teachers, counselors, coaches, parents, friends of family, and school therapists

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