Mental Health and How to Help

This information was provided by a youth volunteer and shares his thoughts on the mental health crisis.

Mental health has become a major issue in our society over the past several years. But what exactly is mental health? Mental health is one’s condition from an emotional, social, and psychological point of view. Many things can affect a person’s mental health including relationships with people, choices they make, and adversities they have faced. Poor mental health is just like poor physical health, it is not good for you. Stress and trauma are the two major factors that lead to poor mental health. Poor mental health leads to mental illness which can include depression, anxiety, and/or suicide.

Depression is feeling extremely sad and hopeless during times that usually make one happy. Depression affects about 1.9 million children and teens between the ages of 3-17. How can you tell that someone is depressed? You can look for signs such as changes in their eating or sleeping patterns, having a hard time paying attention in class, and/or self-harm. Here at YVC we don’t just want to watch these people suffer. We want to offer them help. Try approaching these people with respect, compassion, and empathy and asking them questions such as, “I’ve been worried about you. Can we talk about what you are experiencing? If not, who are you comfortable talking to?” This will make the person feel like they are wanted and will give them an opportunity to get their feeling off of their chest.

Anxiety is another example of a mental illness. Anxiety affects about 4.4 million kids and teens between the ages of 3-17. Anxiety is when you are over fearful and worry a lot. Social anxiety is when you are worried about school or other places where people are. This could be for various reasons such as being worried that you are going to be humiliated. Anxiety can lead to trouble sleeping and bad physical health. Asking someone with anxiety a simple question such as, “Who or what has helped you deal with similar issues in the past?” can help that person get on the right track to finding help.

Suicide is when one purposely kills him/herself. In the United States, suicide is the tenth leading cause of death. According to studies, there has been a dramatic increase in teen deaths since the mid-2000s. The leading cause of suicide is mental illness such as depression or anxiety. Stress (including PTSD) can also play a role in this. One warning sign of suicide is self-harm like cutting yourself with a knife. You could also ask someone, “I’m concerned about you safety. Have you thought about harming yourself or others.” If they respond with yes, advise them to call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255. Remember that this is not the only choice they have to get help, but make sure that the get help. Also remember that when asking questions to do so with respect, compassion, empathy, and especially benevolence.

Finally, mental health and mental illness is not a joke. Many people suffer and die from it every day. Remind other people of this too. Lastly, always try to look out for and help people who could be suffering from mental illness.

 

About the Author:

My name is Rahul and I am fourteen years old. I am in the 8th grade and live in Canton, Michigan. I love volunteering with YVC. Subjects that interest me in school are math and science. When I grow up I want to be a doctor to benefit society. When I am not in school or volunteering, you can find me playing baseball or hanging out with family and friends. I also
enjoy traveling.

 

Cited:

“Anxiety and Depression in Children: Get the Facts.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 15 Apr. 2019.
www.cdc.gov/childrensmentalhealth/features/anxiety-depression-children.html.

“Mental Health.” Gale In Context Online Collection, Gale, 2019. Gale In Context: Middle School
https://link.gale.com/apps/doc/HUCMVP473177812/MSIC?u=lom_1924&sid=MSIC&xid=2a6d9c08 

“Suicide.” Gale In Context Online Collection , Gale, 2019. Gale In Context: Middle School 
https://link.gale.com/apps/doc/ZCMSFA732915410/MSIC?u=lom_1924&sid=MSIC&xid=ae4f81cc