LJHS Support for Mental Health
October 24, 2022
Mental health has become a recent topic of discussion in these early years. The NCBI stated, “Of the 195 students, 138 (71%) indicated increased stress and anxiety due to the COVID-19 outbreak.” The top priority of LJHS is to make students feel welcome, understood, and, most importantly, supported. There are many resources available to students, such as school counselors, that are trained to help students in numerous ways. School psychologists are also easily available to help students cope with stress or improve overall well-being. The community of LJHS as a whole is supporting students.
School counselors are trained to help students develop a schedule for a multitude of issues. One thing they help with is switching classes. When a sophomore at LJHS, Ash Valdez, was asked how the school counselor has helped her this year and the response was, “When I wanted to change my schedule they were all very helpful about it and made it as best as possible.” Specifically, at LJHS, there are four current counselors, Katherine Fitzpatrick (A-Fe), Alex Drozda (Fi-L), Rhiannon Soria (M-S), and Clinton McVay (Se-Z). Counselors provide academic support, such as sharing resources for tutoring, switching classes, and helping the student create a personal student plan. They are equipped to be thoughtful listeners and give support. Another student, Tatianna Hedayati, shared another experience saying, “They were super helpful and gave me the correct information.” There are more resources available, such as school psychologists.
Psychologists at school can be a very valuable resource for students. According to the NASP(National Association of School Psychologists, “One in five students suffers from a mental health disorder and roughly 80 percent of children and youth who are in need of mental health services do not receive them.” It is important and crucial that students at LJHS are made aware that a school psychologist is an option for them as additional help. Tatianna Hedayati expressed, “I have never seen the school psychologist and I didn’t even know we had one.” Another student, Ash Valdez, expressed similar thoughts regarding the psychologist continuing, “I did somewhat know about the school psychologist but I’ve never seen them or heard anything about them.” At LJSH, there are two school psychologists, Shawn Dee Hartless And Amanda. In order to get in contact with them, an appointment can be made through email or through the school counselor. The purpose of visitation with them is to help improve mental health and provide coping skills.
LJHS has a wonderful community that holds one another up. Many students have experienced positives here, such as outlets for creativity, making friends, and having supportive faculty. Madeline Sornson, a sophomore student at LJHS said, “La Jolla High has a very positive community. The students and teachers are all encouraging and welcoming.” According to CNBS, “A survey that utilized data from the U.S. General Social Surveys, 94% of people with a bachelor’s degree or more reported feeling happy or very happy with their lives overall, while 89% of high school grads said the same.” This shows that school overall has a positive effect on students. Ash Valdez said, “I really appreciate that every teacher I’ve had so far has been incredibly helpful, understanding, and over knows what they’re doing to help students better understand the material. Most of the students here are alright too.”
It is crucial that students are knowledgeable of resources to help with not only school but mental health. Students at LJHS have access to a variety of helpful materials that are available easily and will provide support as they progress through high school.
It’s Time to Acknowledge Teens Mental Health
Mental health problems among students are an ongoing issue that need to be recognized as they may have detrimental effects on adolescents’ futures. According to the CDC’s Youth Risk Behavior Survey & Trends Report, more than 1 in 3 high school students experienced persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness in 2019. Additionally, 1 in 6 youth had made a suicide plan, a 40% increase since 2009.
Students’ academic performance and overall well-being can be negatively affected by school-related anxiety and depression. Mental health is a vital aspect of development for teenagers and affects their emotional, social, and psychological well-being.
While school can provide a structure for success in college and life, it can also create negative feelings such as stress and anxiety for students. According to research from the Better Sleep Council, 34% of American teenagers spend 20 hours or more a week on homework, which is more than time spent at social activities and sports. Students were asked what causes stress in their lives, and about 75% said grades/test scores, 74% said homework, and 45% said parental expectations. These statistics show that school is one of the main causes of stress for teenagers and is consuming their daily lives. It is vital for youth development that students have time in their schedules to practice their hobbies and build relationships. Teenagers need a creative outlet in order to express themselves and relieve negative emotions.
The pressure for students to excel in order to get into college has been discussed with students at LJHS. When asked what the current most stressful aspect of school was, Senior Brendan Glenister said, “It is my last year before college and I have to work hard to keep my grades up. On top of that, I am taking the hardest courses I’ve taken yet.” Expectations about college and future careers induce extra pressure on students and can become a source of extreme worry and stress.
Furthermore, poor mental health can affect students’ lives outside of school and can result in negative school performance. A research interview conducted by the International Journal of Adolescence and Youth found that stress over education had a negative impact on school performance, sleep quality, mental health, and substance use outcomes. Sophomore Jessica Siry adds, “I barely have time to relax after school. All my homework adds up and leaves no space for things I like to do.” It is crucial that teenagers’ mental health is properly acknowledged in order to prevent grades from declining and their personal lives from suffering.
However, school can also be a very positive environment for students. It can help them build healthy relationships, engage in fun social events, and prepare them for success in life. When asked what the best aspect of school was, Junior Isabella Policaro said, “There are lots of people so there is a lot of interaction. I like that there are various grades in my classes so I get to meet new people from different grade levels.” Building strong friendships at school is an important part of establishing positive emotions, including acceptance, self confidence, and overall happiness. At school, students also build trusting relationships with teachers and counselors. These relationships are important because they help provide teenagers emotional support and encouragement towards overcoming obstacles. Positive factors, as such, show that creating a welcoming and safe school environment is a pivotal part of improving students’ mental health.
Finding the balance between a healthy lifestyle while maintaining good grades is difficult for some students to achieve. Stress and anxiety over assignments can be overwhelming and prevents teenagers from engaging in activities they are passionate about. The number of students suffering from anxiety and depression will continue to rise until their mental health is properly acknowledged and supported.
Rachelle Roberson is a junior at La Jolla High and it is her second year in Journalism. As the Hi-Tide News Editor, she looks forward to working with the...
La Jolla High’s Mental Health
Loneliness is an unstoppable pervasive force and a deep source of pain for many people, including students at La Jolla High.
Many students are going through these feelings and frustrations, with very few having knowledge of these resources. Newport Academy reports that 40% of people aged 16 to 24 often report feelings of loneliness.
One of the main causes of frustration and sadness in life is caused from a lack of acknowledgment from oneself and others. People often feel ashamed and embarrassed when they have these feelings, which can lead to isolation, only making these problems worse.
As bleak as this may seem, there are tools and strategies that can improve one’s emotional state and quality of life.
On the Hi Tide team, Logan S. opened up on their personal experience with mental health. “My own experience has taught me that there is a process to identifying and dealing with my emotions. Growing up in a fractured family, I have had to learn about identifying and comprehending my feelings. The first step was to take responsibility for my life. This is essential as living a life without the belief that things matter and that everything that my situation is a result of my actions leads to an unhealthy detachment with reality and ultimately causes further loneliness and depression. Once I grounded myself with the difficult concept that shaped my reality, I took to self reflection, finding what it is precisely it is I’m unhappy with and taking steps to improve it. Jordan B. Peterson said, ‘It’s in our responsibility that most people find the meaning that sustains them through life.’ I interpreted this as the necessary steps to shaping my life to get the most out of it.”
Giving students a place to be heard is integral to their well being and improving our school. Without creating a social space for students to share how they feel, emotions will be trapped inside and cause problems unbeknownst to them. Unfortunately, there is a stigma, and students are embarrassed to reach out, but if the problem doesn’t get addressed, then it will only get worse. If a student is ever feeling hopeless or struggling, then they should go to Mr. Scott in the front office, the on school therapist, which is open to all students. According to school Mrs. Hartless, the on school psychologist here at La Jolla High, if you are having trouble reflecting on yourself and finding out what’s wrong, the first step is to identify when you feel angry, as this tends to be the most noticeable emotion. Also, recognizing how your body reacts to feeling certain emotions is a great way to become more in touch with yourself.
After interviewing Mrs. Hartless, the number one pressing issue concerning teens’ mental health here at La Jolla High was the overuse of social media. Anxiety, depression, comparison, and a host of other negative effects can be attributed to the subsistence on social media. To quote Mrs. Hartless, “all of those distractions keep you from dealing with yourself.” A great resource for making a positive impact is the teen health and wellness website, which can be found on San Diego unified La Jolla High website.
Logan Sasis a Senior and in his first year taking Journalism. Logan aspires to gain some experience in the field of journalism. Some of his hobbies include...