Mental Illness in Teens

Nick Perry, Junior Staff Writer

At least one in five adolescents will suffer from mental illness. There are 2,612 students here at Turlock High School, that would mean approximately 522 students around you have some sort of mental illness. It is time we end the stigma around mental disorders and start educating ourselves. 

Mental disorders are complex with multiple causes, some being genetic and environmental. Genetics is when someone is predisposed to the illness by having someone in their immediate family already diagnosed. Whereas environmental encompasses factors such as chronic stress, poverty, trauma, and abuse. Mental illness is a result of a combination of several different factors, and mental illness can affect anyone. Mental illness transcends class, race, age, religion, and gender.

After interviewing a school psychologist on the issue of students and their mental health in relation to the school policies, she stated, “A teacher or an admin will come to me if they have concerns about a student. I will then meet with the student and do a check-in, and then schedule an S.S.T. meeting. This stands for Student Support Team.” When asked what she does when the issues become too severe to handle at school, she responded, “If it is severe we will have a team do a risk assessment, and possible 5150 and notify the parents/guardians. As for what 5150 stands for is a psychiatric hold at a hospital.” The school has many procedures on what to do if a student is struggling. The school psychologist included if a student reaches out, the school can provide counseling once a week for approximately six to eight weeks. 

Mental illness is not something you can see externally, but there are signs to various different illnesses such as prolonged sadness, distancing from friends, or low energy. Many people will try and hide their mental illness. You can help someone by encouraging them to reach out for help and assure them they are not alone. 

Ending the stigmatism is important so we can progress as a whole. Mental illness is not something one should be ashamed of, many people who suffer from it can lead successful lives and flourish. It is something one will struggle with, but it does not define them as a person because their mental illness does not classify them. We need to educate people and bring this issue into the light because mental illness is not going away and people should not have to suffer alone.