Let’s Talk About Mental Health

Mental Health is very important. So what can the school do better to help those who struggle?


Trinity Kellogg

Poll taken by 50 Grayslake Central Students on Mental Health

Trinity Kellogg, Staff Reporter

Many teens around the world struggle with mental illness. According to the U.S . Department of Health & Human Services, an estimated amount of 49.5% of adolescents have had some sort of mental illness in their lifetime. Grayslake Central has found many ways to help reduce these numbers and help the students in our school that struggle due to mental illness, but this is an enormous problem to take on. Though, Central provides a variety of resources to students.

Heather O’Connor, Grayslake Central’s psychology teacher said “…there’s a lot of things going on behind the scenes that [the school is] working on…” Grayslake Central has many places where struggling students can seek help,  but not many students know of and take advantage of these valuable resources.

To access more students living with mental illness, the school has promoted resources to the students. It is advertised that the school is a safe space, but over the years more is heard about students struggling with mental illness, big or small. A study done by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services shows that 32% of thirteen to eight-teen year olds struggle with anxiety which is one of the most common mental illnesses seen in teenagers. An anonymous survey was done on 50 students in the student body here at Grayslake Central. Majority of the students were seniors ranking in at 51% following with Juniors and Freshman at 18.4% and Sophomores at 12.2%.  Out of 50 people 81% said they struggle with some form of mental illness. The most common mental illness seen, ranking 78% of people saying they struggle with anxiety. To help support the students of Central,  “[Grayslake Central] have six counselors, three social workers, [and] two psychologists… we run a lot of support groups.” said Kate Oldenburg, Centrals Prevention and Wellness Coordinator. There are things in and out of school that factors into teenage mental illness. Many students in the school probably have undiagnosed mental illnesses and have no resources or are afraid to say anything. For the school  to find a way to support those kids with or without being diagnosed, a suggestion can be to let students have a break if they seem overwhelmed or stressed.

Many teens don’t feel seen enough to bring up how they feel mentally and even with the large support here at Central, it can still be very difficult to maintain their mental health and school work. Grade drops and distancing can be a sign of a deeper problem going on in teen lives. Oldenburg said “You just might start to notice an overall kind of mood change.”

Grayslake Central strives to make it an environment to help with these things. To help improve the wonderful school environment that Grayslake Central creates, we could add things that range from advocating support groups speaking out about mental health, to dedicated quiet spaces meant for decompressing when needed.

Speaking out and finding compromises in school creates a space to destigmatize the topic of mental health. The more difficult topics are talked about, the less difficult it is to have these conversations. Heather O’Connor defined mental health as “Being aware that there are challenges and struggles but having good support systems…” Having support at your lowest is one of the most important things. With constant improvements and lots of support from the school, students will have all the necessary and essentials to help them feel happy in a school environment.