High school, the four years where the pressure is put on us by ourselves, our families, and society. There’s constant competition having the highest grade point average, SAT/ACT scores, and getting into the best college.
Mental health is a topic that doesn’t get spoken about much or acknowledged as much as it should.
Stress can be caused by a number of reasons ranging from one’s personal life to their school life. However, a poll conducted by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health showed that, for most cases, stress was caused primarily by academics.
How we respond to the issue is what makes all the difference. According to the Suicide Prevention Resource Center, “mental health problems can affect a student’s energy level, concentration, dependability, mental ability, and optimism, hindering performance.”
In a survey of 80 students done at San Bernardino High School, students were asked a number of questions to see where they stand on mental health.
It showed that 77% of the students are currently taking three or more honors or advanced placement classes. These classes are known to be more challenging and have a larger work load than college prep classes. Knowing this, students still sign up for the classes because we are told it looks good on our transcripts when we apply to colleges.
Following academics, 75% of the surveyed students said they tend to spend two or more hours on homework each night. Including extracurriculars and community service, 50% of students find ways to incorporate these into their schedules as well.
Busy schedules call for time management; however, it more often leads to stress, then to sleep deprivation, and irregular eating habits. In the survey conducted, 27% of students claimed to sleep five or fewer hours on weekdays and 67% went on to say they tend to overeat or don’t eat at all when they are stressed.
Some parents are concerned about students taking mental health days as an excuse to miss school. There’s not much other reasoning for them being against the bill that was being passed in Utah and Oregon other than believing they’re coddling their teens by giving in.
83% of the SBHS students surveyed felt that mental health days would be beneficial. California has not yet passed this bill, but hopefully this can bring awareness to our school and school district in order to be more flexible with students and work with our personal issues so we know we aren’t alone. So we know we have some authority figure we can confide in.