Mental Health in Today’s Youth

How Students Cope with Mental Illness

She is alone. 

The incredible weight on her shoulders is a burden she is carrying alone. Nobody understands how it feels to not be okay and nobody can help her. The people she sees walking around school every day are just ordinary people who cannot see that there is clearly something wrong. She cannot get out of her own head and she is drowning in her own thoughts and feelings. She struggles to stay afloat and she just barely breaks the surface. But still… nobody notices.

Mental health is an issue that has plagued our youth for many years. Its prevalence has become increasingly known thanks to the rise of social media. The youth today are growing up in an incredibly lucky time where resources and help are readily available. Despite the growth in research and resources made to help individuals who face these problems, suicide rates for teens are climbing higher, with 17.2% of high school students reportedly considering ending their life according to Thousands of students are struggling with mental illness, but are afraid to speak up about it and get help because they often think they are alone or that nothing can help them. 

“I’ll have panic attacks,” McKenna Cooper (12) said. “Some mornings I’ll just wake up really anxious and there’s really nothing I can do to control that. My heart rate is high all the time and sometimes I get splotchy and red.” 

According to the National Alliance of Mental Health, one in six American kids aged six to 17 experiences a mental health disorder, meaning that everyday people pass by someone who struggles with mental illness. The impact mental health has on a teen can affect the way they develop and look at certain situations.

“It’s definitely made me grow up faster than I wanted to,” Garrett Anderson (12) said.

Adolescents appear to be having an increased risk for self-harm with roughly 15% of teens reporting that they self harm in some way according to Mental Health America. Harming yourself is not the solution though, as there are many steps that teens and students take when coping with mental illness.

“I’ve learned to step back and look at it and just breathe and remember that it’s going to be okay,” Anecia Garfias (12) said, about what she does to help herself during moments when she’s struggling. ”It’s going to work out at the end of the day and if it doesn’t, that’s just how it is and how it’s supposed to be.”

Many individuals suffering with mental illness often feel afraid to leave their house or feel as though they don’t have the energy to pick themselves up and live in everyday life. They use isolation as a means of protection, consequently limiting themselves and their potential. Many focus on the positive and look for things that help them. 

“It gets better,” Emily Conrad (11) said. “Just stay connected with people and go out and do things. Not being isolated all the time really contributes as well as making sure that you have people you can talk to.”


To view how I deal with mental illness, view my story here: