A Look at Latin’s Mental Health Resources

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Jessica Flohr

One in every five American adults – about 43.8 million people – experiences mental illness each year. And one in every five American youths between the ages of 13 and 18 will experience a “severe mental disorder at some point in their lifetime” (National Alliance on Mental Health).

Many people often gloss over these numbers, as they may not be personally affected by mental health issues, or have someone close to them who has been affected. Ignoring the statistics because you feel that they don’t pertain to you is a phenomenon that has become commonplace today, however there are real people behind these numbers.

A major difference between a physical injury and a mental illness is that the former is visible while the latter often is not. As students and adults continue to say things like “I am so stressed that I want to kill myself,” they are undermining the struggle that millions of people are faced with everyday. Junior Hannah Davis stated that “people don’t realize that mental health is not always entirely in a person’s control. While our generation is getting better” at not using  “phrases like ‘I’m dead’ or ‘kill me now,’” any usage of these phrases detracts from the real struggles people are facing. Because mental illness is not visible, you never know who might be impacted by it. The person sitting next to you on the train or even a close friend could be suffering from a mental illness but fear stigmatization if they choose to share about it.

Senior Bianca Voss, a founder of the Mental Health Alliance (MHA) at Latin, shared that while “the world has made strides towards ending the stigma around mental health” that society is “nowhere near where” it needs to be. Through founding the MHA, Bianca, and her Co-Founder Cici Carr, hoped to create a safe space to empower students. There is a culture of fear and often shame surrounding mental illness in our society. Bianca highlighted that “if you break your leg, no one’s telling you to get up and walk” and that “just because we can’t see someone’s struggle doesn’t mean it’s not there.” It is crucial that we as a student body and society work to end the stigmatization of mental health by recognizing that it is not something you can simply “walk off.”

Additionally, the freshman and sophomore classes recently attended a presentation from the National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI). From this presentation, Sophomore Eliza Bufferd learned that if someone is suffering from depression or anxiety the most important thing is to be “there for them, instead of separating yourself from them.” She also added that “spreading awareness on social media and news articles” has allowed for the subject of mental health to become easier to talk about. The efforts being made world wide to bring attention to the importance of mental health include famous figures like the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, who discussed the topic on their tour of Australia in October. Prince Harry will also work with Oprah Winfrey to produce a documentary series for Apple TV about mental heath to further encourage the discussion and reduce the stigma surrounding mental illness.

As a Latin community, we can continue to move in the right direction in regards to mental health by eradicating the use of phrases that undermine others’ mental health challenges and by confronting those who continue to use this type of harmful language. Additionally, being supportive and empowering those who choose to share their mental health struggles can make a bigger difference than one might think.

*Important Note*If you are struggling with mental health you do not have to do it alone. You can always reach out to the school guidance counselors, Ms. Stevens ([email protected]) or Ms. Lawrence ([email protected]), share with a family member or friend, or seek outside help.

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