Contributed by Shirley, 9th Grade
The author of this blog post is a student in the Peer Health Exchange program, reflecting on why she thinks health education is important for young people.
The most important thing I learned from Peer Health Exchange is that nobody can obligate me to do something I don’t want to do. I am my own person and I am in control of my decisions. I have used this to make a decision and stop myself from regretting a mistake that I could’ve prevented if I made the right choice. My friends were throwing a birthday party for my friend which I was invited to. They told me there would be alcohol, drinks, hookah. She gave me a couple of days to think about it and as I pondered my options I realized if I went I would seem cool but so many things could happen. I could possibly get high or intoxicated and risk getting in trouble with my parents by losing my going-out privileges, get raped or drugged. However, if I didn’t go I would be considered a loser. On the day of the party, I decided to go. I didn’t have to do anything I would regret to have fun! I went and refused any alcohol or drugs. I still danced and had a great time! I would rather be living happy knowing I wouldn’t get in trouble with my parents than live with that fear/guilt that something severe could’ve happened to me. Why would I do something that is harmful to me just to fit in? My health is much more important than popularity!
One of the biggest health issues young people face is not knowing when/who to talk to about your problems because teenagers face predicaments such as depression, coming out to be homosexual, etc. They face these things alone and keep their feelings bottled up. But as they are exposed to resources like health education and getting to know counselors, teenagers see that the school community has resources they can confide in. Whether its pharmacists, doctors, counselor–these kids have options!
It’s extremely important for young people to receive health education so they can familiarize themselves with subjects they are afraid to talk about aloud. This can help inform them so when they are doing something they can apply what they learned from their resources in that situation.