The Review

The importance of student mental health

In+a+recent+survey+answered+by+126+Ottawa+High+School+students%2C+The+Review+staff+asked+whether+students+felt+anxious+and%2For+depressed.+The+survey%E2%80%99s+results+also+show+that+the+top+three+things+that+negatively+affect+students%E2%80%99+mental+health+are+stress+from+homework%2C+lack+of+sleep+and+bullying.+Three+common+coping+mechanisms%2C+according+the+survey+results%2C+are+listening+to+music%2C+spending+time+with+pets%2C+and+putting+aside+time+to+relax.
In a recent survey answered by 126 Ottawa High School students, The Review staff asked whether students felt anxious and/or depressed. The survey’s results also show that the top three things that negatively affect students’ mental health are stress from homework, lack of sleep and bullying. Three common coping mechanisms, according the survey results, are listening to music, spending time with pets, and putting aside time to relax.

In a recent survey answered by 126 Ottawa High School students, The Review staff asked whether students felt anxious and/or depressed. The survey’s results also show that the top three things that negatively affect students’ mental health are stress from homework, lack of sleep and bullying. Three common coping mechanisms, according the survey results, are listening to music, spending time with pets, and putting aside time to relax.

In a recent survey answered by 126 Ottawa High School students, The Review staff asked whether students felt anxious and/or depressed. The survey’s results also show that the top three things that negatively affect students’ mental health are stress from homework, lack of sleep and bullying. Three common coping mechanisms, according the survey results, are listening to music, spending time with pets, and putting aside time to relax.

Audrey Moore, editor

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It’s two o’clock in the morning. A student was at their extracurricular activity until seven p.m., worked until 10 p.m., and spent three hours studying for a test. The student gives up in frustration, as it’s become all too clear that their sleep-deprived brain can’t remember anything. Instead, they stare at their computer screen, switching tabs from their half-finished math assignment and their essay that needs five hundred more words. They’re so tired that they keep dozing off, yet they can’t bring themselves to go to bed until all of their work is done. If they don’t get it done, they’ll get counted off. Their grades will drop. They’ll lose scholarship opportunities and be unable to go to college. They won’t have a future. If they don’t get it done, they are lazy. If they don’t get it done, they’re a bad student. If they don’t get it done, they’re a failure. They suddenly feel nauseous at the realization that they can’t be successful and take care of themselves. In fact, the reality is that getting it all done before seven a.m. is borderline impossible in the state they’re in.

Every 100 minutes, a teenager takes his or her own life. Suicide is the third-leading cause of death in people ages 15 to 24. Many mental health professionals agree that the main factor in this isn’t necessarily depression, but a common symptom of depression: hopelessness.* Many things can cause hopelessness: depression, anxiety, not believing that things will get better, and more. Though school isn’t entirely to blame, all of the things listed can be, in many cases, linked back to the way our school system operates in some way, shape, or form.

It’s no secret that the way school is scheduled makes it impossible for teenagers to get adequate sleep. Melatonin, a hormone that aids in sleep, doesn’t start being produced in teenagers’ bodies until one or two o’clock in the morning. Teenagers also have various activities and responsibilities to attend to, making it impossible to get to bed at 8 p.m. in order to get their needed 9 hours and 15 minutes of sleep per night. Getting enough sleep is a vital part in maintaining both your physical and mental health. A lack of sleep is a huge factor in the reason that so many young people are becoming depressed, and this is only worsened by the fact that insomnia is rampant in people with depression.** This is worsened even further by our obsession with technology; most types of screens emit a type of light that lowers melatonin levels even further. Depression has also been correlated to worsening school performance. It makes it hard to concentrate, and it can make you tired. This can lead teachers to believe that you’re simply slacking off.*** This is where anxiety can come in.

It has been drilled into us since the first days of kindergarten that school is everything. If you fail at school, you fail at life. When circumstances come up in your life and you’re too sleep deprived to function or you simply aren’t understanding what a teacher is trying to teach you, it can cause the concept of all-or-nothing failure to come back knocking on our brains. These cause anxiety; thinking that failing a class will ruin your life is irrational, yet it’s an honest fear that’s been bred from the ideas we’ve been raised to believe. Anxiety can stem from several different things, and there isn’t a set, known cause for it, but it’s clear that these ideals about education aren’t helping anything.****

There are many factors to consider when trying to effectively discuss mental illness. However, at this point in the conversation, it’s important to look at things that are bad, both from a general and mental illness standpoint, and understand that changes need to be made. Discussion and change are the first steps to a better future.

*Center for Discovery

**National Sleep Foundation

***National Institute of Mental Health

****Medical News Today

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The importance of student mental health