The Health of Our Minds
By: Molly N.
According to the National Alliance of Mental Health website, “Approximately 1 in 5 youth aged 13–18 (21.4%) experiences a severe mental disorder at some point during their life. For children aged 8–15, the estimate is 13%. Approximately 1 in 5 adults in the U.S.—43.8 million, or 18.5%—experiences mental illness in a given year” Probability suggests that some students and teachers suffer from a mental health disease in Duxbury High school.
Our mind is the control center for our body, which we will live in for as long as we live. Mrs. Malone, Duxbury High school’s nurse said our mental heath affects, “How we feel about ourselves, each other, and our world.” Sophomore Patrick M. said, “Your mind makes so many important decisions and I think it should be healthy.”
Students spend a hundred and eighty days in DHS each year. “Our school’s environment has a very negative effect on my mental health. There is gossip, stress, and a very negative vibe in our school constantly.” Sophomore Ellie D. said. Those attributes can all lead to difficult days for a student. If things like gossiping, stress, and bad vibes occur everyday, all that negativity can persevere. Agreeing, junior Alicia J. said, “Sometimes [the school has a] negative [impact on me] from all the stress, [but] also a positive one, from fun things like spirit week and such.”
Duxbury High School’s principal Mr. Stephens thinks it is important to try and do the best he can to provide a healthy environment. He wants to prevent students from turning to self-medication instead of seeking help. He believes, “Mental well being is an important aspect of student life and experience at school and outside of school.”
Referring to the mental health of students Mr. Stephens said, “That is a big part of why we have a guidance office. Counselors help with academics and well as the well being of our students. We have two school psychologist, the school nurse, or any trusted adult in the building.”
Ms. Ryan is one of DHS’s two psychologist along with Mrs. Nemzer. Typically, if a students needs are not met by the guidance counselor they are referred to one of the psychologists. Regardless, she is here to talk with any student and said, “If a kid needs me, I’m here for them.”
Ms. Ryan can teach students some skills for coping with anxiety, if students suffer from depression she is there to help get them through their school days. She also helps with substance abuse and provides referral services.
Mrs. Malone welcomes students if they need someone to talk to or a place to go to catch a break. She is there for DHS students’ physical health and believes guidance is the best place for a student to go for help. Head of guidance Lisa Dembowski said, “You can come down and take a little break.” If the day is not going so well guidance is the place to go and decompress.
Ms. Ryan is also, “toying with the idea of offering group time for kids with anxiety or depression, but not limiting, into next year’s schedule.” She is worried about the issue of kids not showing up and them having to miss class to attend this group meeting. Mr. Stephens agrees with the scheduling issue that would cause kids to have to miss class to attend. He said of next years schedule, “There may be space for flexibility to be able to look at running themed groups.”
Head of guidance Lisa Dembowski believes that the group is necessary. She said, “One-hundred percent it’s needed. Any time you can see that others are dealing with the same things as you is good. I do think academics are important, however there needs to be a break in the day. That would do wonders.”
Having a group meeting time would be beneficial for those students who seek help, according to Duggan. Sophomore Kellie E. said, “I would like that because it would help me.”
According to Psychology Today, “Smiling Activates Neuropeptides that work toward fighting off stress” They also release dopamine, endorphins, and serotonin which are all feel good hormones. One should not underestimate the power of a smile;
“The impact of a smile cannot be underestimated on a kid and as adult.”- Mr. Stephens
“A smile is receptive so you are more likely to share or talk with someone.” – Mrs. Dembowski
“I think a smile helps no matter what” Mrs. Malone
“YES!!!!! Smiles are everything. A smile from a stranger can make someone’s whole week better!”- Ellie D.
“A smile can make their day!”- Kellie E.
“A smile is contagious”- Patrick M.