I believe that when you are young, you can be vulnerable to various changes and experiences that take place within your own body, your life, and the overall world you reside in. Being an adolescent gives way to challenges and the need to balance several aspects of one’s life. For instance, there is a need to accommodate changes with friends, dynamics with family members, managing the stresses of school, extracurriculars, universities, and overall just finding a sense of self at the same time. These things can be overwhelming, especially with changes happening in one’s own body, and navigating the world with the pressures and influences that come with it. These stresses arising from these changes can impact one’s mental health.
Being a high school student is acquainted with its own sets of challenges. For example, peer pressure and influences can make it difficult for us high schoolers to discover a sense of self.
It is easy for us to lose track of who we are at times, while also maintaining the balance of growing and developing into new versions of ourselves.
Things like drugs and alcohol seem appealing, and poor influences can change our reference points and make us lose sight of the person we wish to become. It is easy for us to fall sway to the habits and lifestyle of other people, and compare ourselves to others, not realizing the individuality and authenticity we must reach instead.
High school also lends itself to people directing time and energy to new friendships, and possibly exploring romantic relationships. This can bring with it confusion, peer pressure, and heartbreak as well, which affects one’s mental state. Youth also have to cope with new dynamics with regards to their relationships with their parents, by finding a sense of autonomy, but still maintaining relationships and ties with family members as well. It can often be a balancing and struggling act with regards to respecting and upholding family values, but also finding a sense of self, and individuality as well.
Taking care of your mental health is essential, and unfortunately, it’s not a thought that crosses people’s minds at all times during this age. Energy is put into simply “surviving life” at times for high schoolers, and we are not able to live beyond that state of mind and genuinely enjoy it. I recommend people connect with tools and strategies for taking care of their health that align with their interests and personalities.
I enjoy writing, which is why every day I try to accommodate goal gratitude and reflective journaling into my schedule. Taking time to work through my mental processes is important to me, and helps me evaluate and alter my life where crucial. Additionally, taking care of my physical health lends itself to a better mindset. Practicing positive affirmations, mindfulness, and breathing exercises, along with working out and doing yoga are some methods of this. Maintaining a healthy diet, and connections with people adds to a wholesome and self-fulfilling feeling as well.
COVID-19 has allowed the school system to transition into a quarter system. For some, including myself, it can be a blessing. The system has allowed me to channel more energy towards two courses at a time, allowing for improved grades, and more time for other things, including prioritization of my health and connections with others. However, for the upcoming year, the quarterly system will no longer be a hybrid system and will amount to its own sets of pros and cons as well.
To support youth’s mental health the community needs to work towards addressing the issues of this vulnerable age group. Parents can lend themselves to meaningful conversations with their youth and talk about issues or problems in their life as well. Open conversations and communications about how youth feel about their relationships with friends, family, school, mental health, and other crucial aspects of their lives are crucial.
Teaching youth strategies of generating their happiness and prioritizing their mental health on a day-to-day basis, regardless of where they may fall on their mental health spectrum are possibilities that are beneficial to explore.
High School Student