TW: suicide, anxiety, body dysmorphia, bullying
Mental health affects the way we see ourselves, our physical health, friendships, family, and more, so taking care of it and noticing any changes is really important. How you feel can determine if you're able to function or be in certain environments, like school or work.
If someone is introverted, likes to stay comfortable and doesn't get dressed up or do their hair, they could be seen as struggling mentally. If someone feels like getting dressed up, talking to everyone they come across, and eating healthily, that could be seen as good mental health. But in both scenarios, it is possible to hide your true feelings, using an outward appearance, or a big or small personality to avoid being asked how you feel. That being said, there is nothing wrong with being yourself and doing what you're used to and what makes you feel good.
Depression can mean feeling so low and so down that sometimes you may even think about taking your life. You question how much you really mean to people and if they would care if you're gone. Anxiety can cause you to overthink and stress so much, even when things are outside of your control. These things can cause so much harm to you as a person or make life 10x harder.
For some, school adds to the negatives of mental health. The setting can be a constant battle because it can force some students outside of their comfort zone. There should be more positive practices in school, such as restorative justice. Instead of quickly suspending a student when something is wrong, school officials should ask why it happened. There is also bullying that can happen and hurt students’ mental health. Bullying can happen in person, online, or both. Bullying and the constant discomfort a student may face in their environment may push them into things like suicide, body dysmorphia, anxiety, depression, or worse.
There is a lack of access to mental health treatment in general, so many people go untreated because they can’t afford it or they can’t find where to get this help from. Some are also afraid to reach out for help. Mental health impacts everyone, so it’s important to end discrimination and stigma.
Something that really helps me deal with all the struggles that come along with mental health is meditation. It grounds you and allows you to be free of all the overthinking and stress that life is throwing your way. Or another way I cope is by just talking to someone I trust; it’s really helpful to not keep those things so bottled up. Sharing the hard stuff lifts a weight off of your back. Always remember you’re never alone.
If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts, know that you’re not alone. You can text HEALTH to 741741 to be connected to a counselor at Crisis Text Line 24/7. Their counselors are trained to support people of all ages.
For resources on any of the above mentioned topics in this essay, check out the resources below or visit selfsea.org/resources for articles and stories from young people who’ve been there.
Resources for anxiety:
- Sign up for a free Headspace for Teens membership
- Grounding techniques for anxious moments
- Video: How Nicole copes with anxiety
Resources for body dysmorphia:
Resources for bullying:
- 10 Ways to Respond to Bullying;
- Stomp Out Bullying HelpChat Crisis Line (available Tuesday & Wednesday evenings for those 18-24)
- Video: Spencer’s experience with being bullied for a health condition