Mental Health – How a person thinks, feels, and acts when faced with life’s situations. Mental health is how people look at themselves, their lives, and the other people in their lives; evaluate their challenges and problems; and explore choices. This includes handling stress, relating to other people, and making decisions. – Network Therapy
There are many forms of mental health than can affect many different people in many different ways.
Highlights from the study:
- Mental health does not only affect adults, it is also affects students as well.
- Relationships with others can affect our health and mental health.
- Peer and adult relationships are equally important.
- Talking to parents can create emotional stress for some children.
- More girls find it easier to talk to their mothers, and boys to their fathers.
- Some students believe their parents expect too much of them.
- Girls may have higher emotional problems, and boys, behaviour problems.
- Bullying is also an issue, especially with various form of bullying.
- Some say it is important, and even a responsibility of teachers, parents and peers to watch for signs of mental health problems and to step in and create positive connections and relationships with them.
Why is all of this important then?
I really do think that relationships are very important in regards to mental health. Students need close friends and peers. They need parents who love them, who support them and who they are able to talk to. Strong relationships that classroom teachers can build with their students can be very important to a student who does not have a close relationship with their parents. Teachers can be the one person that supports them and encourages them, someone who keeps them on the right track. I think it is important that teachers and peers look out for their students and friends, because sometimes those close to us can miss warning signs of mental health problems.
How many youth (seen in the news or heard about) have taken their own lives for one reason for another? My answer is that because I have heard about it, one death is too many. Even when we may think that everything is just fine, it is easy for some to hide a problem and say “I’m doing ok” even when they are not. It’s hard to ask for help and it may seem like it is easier to hide or to deal with things alone, but this wont help you in the long run. Mental health is an issue that we have the power to change if only we can show those in need that we care, that we want them to be happy and that it is okay to ask for help. The people that see the changes and take the time to care can be the ones who can save a life.
I have great parents, but I find it really hard to talk to them. In high school, I felt myself pulling away from them and this has continued to even now. In high school I turned to a teacher and a guidance counsellor and with out them, I don’t know if I would be here today. They supported me and kept pushing me in the right direction. Then, I felt that I could manage things, that I could deal with my feelings of depression alone. I kept busy and distracted myself from the feelings by working and with school. I’d like to say it worked – I made it up until last year when the feelings took over and things got pretty bad. I started seeing a counsellor and things were improving. But then it was summer and then I would be going to Yorkton for internship and counselling ended. I felt I could manage on my own, that I could hide it and say that everything is okay.
I can’t say that my parents didn’t notice changes in me, they tried to get me to talk and I would just say that I was okay and that would be that. I had a friend who said, “what’s up with you – let me know if you need anything” – I appreciated this. I find it easier not to ask for help because I feel like I am burdening someone – I know this isn’t true, but that’s how I see it. So as I was moving away from one part of my life and starting internship – I thought everything would be a new start. Things started off good, and then there were days when I didn’t want to go to school, when it was getting bad again. So, with the help of my co-op teacher, I saw a counsellor once again. It’s hard to start all over again with a new counsellor – but I realize that this is important to do. Things were getting better, but the feelings were still there. I was very lucky to make a couple of really good friends in Yorkton, some very strong women who continue to stay in contact with me – they support me, they care and they keep encouraging me to seek the help I need.
It’s scary to ask for help, to make the phone call or appointment and to actually show up and to talk.
Most days I think I can do it myself, and other days, I phone a friend and they keep me going, they are there for me. I am truly great full for the people in my life, who have created relationships (from high school and up until now) where they show me that they care, that they support and continue to support me when I cannot support myself. Things are getting better.
I think educators need to build strong relationships with their students. I think they can and should look out for their students – I hope to look out for mine.
I also think it is important for people to continue to speak up about mental health issues. They should label us, but should make us stronger.