Let’s speak up about mental health

Being in high school is an interesting time our lives – we’re still kids in so many ways since many of us still live with our parents, still have to go to school, and depend on our parents for many things.

On the flip side, though, we face so many complex problems, like having to plan for college, stressing about grades and tests, and feeling the pressure of parents and friends.

Sometimes these problems are overlooked or brushed off by adults as “overreactions”, “excuses for attention” or “just teenage problems”. Maybe some of these problems are just limited to one’s teenage years; the lack of acknowledgment and validation of these struggles, though, have an impact that will last far beyond high school.

Many teachers and adults view test anxiety as something teenagers claim to have when they haven’t prepared for a test, or if they just want to complain about another quiz. During a midterm I took my sophomore year, I saw a student visibly shaking because they were so nervous. The student knew the material very well, but the pressure to succeed and do well took a physical toll.

If someone is physically shaking due to anxiety, what could be going on inside their head? The sheer amount of stress due to one test is massive – finals week always proves to be even worse.

Having systems in place to help students cope with academic anxiety, as well as social anxiety could benefit both students and teachers – helping students with test anxiety and providing a safe space for those who struggle will be so beneficial to students.

Creating an even more inclusive community could also help with social anxiety – making sure more students are included in daily activities would benefit Wilsonville as a whole.

Addressing issues within school walls can help to change teen mental health, and talking about issues can reduce the stigma of a situation many of us face so often.