Understanding Your Mental Health Needs During High School
This article was written based on the information and opinions presented by Shravya Kakulamarri in a CollegeVine livestream. You can watch the full livestream for more info.
- The Stigma Behind Mental Health
- Breaking Down the Meaning of Mental Health
- Working on Your Mental Health
- Handling Stress
In this article, we will break down the meaning of mental health and how to take the first steps towards coping with mental health challenges during high school. This is essential for students to be at their best during the college application cycle (and beyond), especially given this is often a very stressful time.
If you, or someone you know, is experiencing a mental health problem, we recommend you speak with your parents, a school counselor, or mental health professional.
The Stigma Behind Mental Health
We often feel more comfortable talking about our physical health over our mental health, but our mental health is key to being the best version of ourselves. As a society, we shy away from talking about our mental health because it is commonly stigmatized and such a heavy, private, and personal topic. This often leads to people suffering in silence. Treating mental health as a shameful topic will only hurt our mental health further and make people feel more alone.
Breaking Down the Meaning of Mental Health
The definition of mental health is our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. This affects how we think, feel and act as we navigate through life and every obstacle that comes our way. Mental health also factors into how we handle stress in making decisions. Overall, it’s an integral part of our day to day so it’s important to realize that mental health is important at pretty much every stage of our life.
Educating yourself on mental health is the first step to navigating how to take care of your own mental health. It’s important to do this because mental health is such a heavy topic, so by addressing it you are taking away the negative stigma behind it.
Working on Your Mental Health
The first thing you can do to work on your mental health is set a goal for yourself and identify a list of things you want to achieve by focusing on your mental health. Maybe your goal is to feel happier with the way things are going in your life. Maybe you realize that you want to feel more productive in your day-to-day activities. After you’ve figured out what your main goal is, then you can think about where you are mentally in relation to that goal.
Going back to the example of feeling happier, you can reflect on the things in your life that make you feel happy. Maybe it’s the time you spend with your family and friends, so you realize that this is where you get your happiness from. Maybe you gain happiness from completing a difficult task. Whatever your answer is, you can then make this a priority in your life.
High school classes and the college application cycle can be a huge source of stress for a lot of students. The best way to begin working on your stress is by understanding the source of your stress. This could be anything from an important exam, managing your class schedule, or upcoming college application deadlines.
Try to attribute each of your stressful feelings to a couple of particular events or scenarios so you know exactly how you can address these negative feelings. You can also examine specific solutions to your negative feelings. Let’s say you are feeling lethargic and unmotivated in one of your extracurricular activities. You can then trace these feelings back even a little further. Maybe this is because you’re not getting enough sleep or you might just have too much on your plate, so your extracurricular is feeling like a burden.
Finding the solution can be a lot of trial and error. If the first step you take doesn’t work out, that is okay. Solutions take time, but the important thing is to continue working to find the best solution for you. For a lot of students, the best step you can take is to have a conversation with either your parents or counselors for help.
It’s okay to admit when you need help and advice, but make sure the person you are going to for help has your best interest at heart. Mental health can be a very vulnerable topic, so make sure you are choosing your audience wisely.