Being a high school student is tough. I think we can all agree on that.
These days, that means trying to do well in class while balancing multiple responsibilities, like participating in extracurricular activities, sports teams, and clubs.
When I was in middle school, no one told me how stressful the transition to high school would be. (And if they did, I didn’t listen.) High school and college students endure stress on a daily basis, and we’re rarely told to take time out for our own well-being.
The University of Michigan and the Detroit Public Schools Community District conducted a survey of Detroit students in grades 8 through 12, totaling more than 15,000 students. About 56% of students reported having symptoms of anxiety and 62% reported having symptoms of depression. School stress was the main mental health problem identified by students, followed by family stress. This prevents many students from performing to their full potential in school.
I think we should improve access to mental health care and mental health treatment services. Successful mental health treatment must combine behavioral and psychological interventions with other medical solutions where appropriate.
Unfortunately, the very people who need treatment often do not have access to these services. And at my high school in the Detroit Public Schools Community District, access to mental health care is unreliable.
It’s a big problem, and I can’t fix it.
But one solution we could try right now is to provide opportunities for students to take care of themselves. I ask the district to offer students mental health days at school.
During the first semester of last school year, my high school offered this kind of day. Students were allowed to come to school in comfortable clothes. The focus was on getting along well with our peers, as well as getting to know each other better.
I loved that day, but my school never had another.
Regularly scheduled mental health days could be virtual, face-to-face, or hybrid, and could include something like inspirational speakers that students can relate to, meditation, and time for students to have fun learning. ‘school.
I ask DPSCD Superintendent Nikolai Vitti and other district administrators to organize and implement a pilot program with the goal of offering at least one mental health day per semester. I strongly encourage parents and families to get involved by contacting Dr. Vitti and other school administrators. By taking better care of ourselves, we can have less stressful teenage lives.
Harmonie Stewart is a freshman in high school.
After: These children have a lot to say. We should listen to them.