THROUGHOUT high school, many students experience struggles with their mental health. The representation and acceptance of mental adversity in teens is increasing: classes, extracurricular activities, social stress, and at- home responsibilities.
Pressure and distraction are common. Ashley Torres (10) plays for Granger’s girl’s tennis team and is also in two AP classes. “Sometimes I feel too much weight on me, so I get distracted,” Torres said.
Also, sleep deprivation can negatively impact a student’s performance and mental health. “Sometimes I don’t sleep and can’t concentrate on school- work,” Torres said.
According to the cdc.gov web- site, “More than one in three high school students had experienced persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness in 2019, a 40 per- cent increase since 2009.” Teens are susceptible to a lack of focus because of poor mental health, and this was pre-pandemic.
Academic stress causes a lack of sleep, which negatively impacts mental wellness in teens. “Sleep deprivation increases the likelihood teens will suffer myriad negative consequences, is overwhelming for their mental including an inability to concentrate, poor grades, drowsy-driving incidents, anxiety, depression, thoughts of suicide and even suicide attempts,” as stated on the med.stanford.edu website.
Despite that, Torres says that tennis allows her to forget about her homework and enjoy herself. She says that although AP classes force her to work hard, they affect her in a positive way.
Many factors contribute to a teen’s mental health. Sarai Rodriguez (11) competes on the girl’s wrestling team at Granger and is enrolled in AP classes. “AP classes are a lot harder. It feels like I don’t have enough time when I play a sport. Sometimes I feel like I’m overwhelming my- self,” Rodriguez said. Many teens feel overwhelmed by classes and extracurricular activities.
“When it comes to the pressures teens face, academics tops the list: 61% of teens say they feel a lot of pressure to get good grades… pressured to be involved in extracurricular activities and to be good at sports (21% each),” as stated in a study from the Pew Research Center.
It is very common for students to feel that this constant pressure health.
Teachers can have a positive impact on a teen’s mental health. “One of my teachers reached out to me and asked if I was OK. It felt nice, because not a lot of people ask about your mental health. I felt like I was being heard,” Rodriguez said.
Most teens have a desire to fit it, and to feel validated. Adults who understand a student’s personal anguish can help them achieve mental wellness. There is a lot of advice regarding mental health.
“When you feel like giving up, look how far you’ve gone,” Tor- res said. She prefers to stay positive and look to the future.
“Take it one step at a time. When it comes to mental health, it’s all about processing it and moving on from there,” Rodriguez said. She believes in taking time for yourself to move for- ward.
No matter the situation, mental adversity is difficult to handle alone. One way or another, all students experience difficulties with their mental health. The most important thing to remember is that no one is alone, and help is always available.