The Student News Site of South El Monte High School

Eagles Nest

The Student News Site of South El Monte High School

Eagles Nest

The Student News Site of South El Monte High School

Eagles Nest

It’s Okay To Not Be Okay

What is wrong with me?  This is what too many teenagers ask themselves when they feel a constant emptiness that never seems to go away. It’s almost as if you’ll always feel this way; an endless feeling of hopelessness that haunts your mind. It feels as if your days seem to blend and you’re left with thoughts that never go away. You tell yourself, “Why, Oh why, does this not go away?” But what most don’t know is that these feelings won’t last forever. I know that just by hearing these words, it all seems like such a lie but any step forward is a victory to be proud of. Teens struggle with mental health and it is something that is never easily talked about. 

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According to recent research by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention in 2021,  4 out of 10 (42%) students felt adamantly sad or hopeless, and about one-third (29%) experienced poor mental health. In about that same year, 1 in 5 (22%) students thought about attempting suicide, and 1 and 10 (10%) attempted. Another website worth noticing is Adolescent Wellness Academy. They state that 69% of teens between the ages of sixteen and seventeen have had major depression and 71% have increased feelings of anxiety and hopelessness. These percentages show the negative experiences high school students are enduring.

A question that may come to mind is, “What is mental health?” Mental health is a mixture of factors which include a person’s emotional, psychological, and social well-being. If you’re experiencing mental health problems it can affect your mood, behavior towards people or things, your thinking process, and lastly your physical well-being. When an individual experiences ongoing mental symptoms such as stress, it can lead to dysfunction. These mental health illnesses include depression, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, eating disorders, and addictive behaviors. The Mayo Clinic organization can furthermore go into depth about the signs and symptoms of these disorders and when it is advised to see a doctor.

After further inspection, the reason students suffer from mental health can vary. For instance, some factors include their racial/ethnic background, being part of the LGBTQ+ community, social media use, and past traumatic experiences. Students of color are affected by it mainly because of the racism they face which can lead them to feel like they are singled out.

It may seem like it’s nothing to some but when it’s not being done to you of course you have that opinion because you don’t know what it feels like. Similarly, students who are part of the LGBTQ+ community experience high levels of emotional challenges. They are treated badly for trying to be who they are and when other people, meaning bullies, say something that isn’t kind, it can get into their heads, and that negatively affects them. However, the main reason for mental health is trauma. This happens usually during childhood. Those experiences include child abuse, sexual assault, witnessing violence, etc. These experiences can have a tremendous impact on one’s future. For more information visit Centers for Disease Control and Prevention regarding how traumatic childhood experiences impact the lives of victims.

“Mental health problems don’t define who you are. They are something you experience. You walk in the rain and you feel the rain, but, importantly, YOU ARE NOT THE RAIN.”

— Matt Haig

Lastly, mental health is very important because it allows students to come to school ready to learn, focus, and be able to engage with peers. Furthermore, teens are more likely to be healthy physically, mentally, and emotionally. The benefits of having a healthy mindset are higher levels of productivity which helps do homework and complete goals. Another advantage is that it strengthens your ability to cope with hassles and or serious crises that will most likely come up. Addressing mental health issues is essential, especially for creating a good and healthy future.

Now, a lot of the time it’s easier said than done but if you think about it, when you know you’re doing all that you can do that you’re able to control, then just know you’re on the right track to progressively getting better step by step. It all takes time and patience to see results and it is okay to feel what you feel but know you are strong and can do anything. A few things that can help out are reaching out to someone whom you feel comfortable sharing your business with, searching for a therapist and trying it out, and even looking up hotlines to text or call when in need of support.

Something else that could be helpful is finding things that can help you cope with what you’re going through. For instance, finding a hobby, going to the gym, drawing, dancing, etc. Anything you feel will bring you at ease with your mind would help. These hobbies will give you a break from everything. One thing that can work for you as well is journaling your thoughts if you’re not too comfortable just yet with expressing your feelings to another individual. For more help and other ideas that will help improve your mental health visit Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s website. 

In conclusion, we can see how serious mental health is, especially for a healthy lifestyle. It is most important for students to be in a positive mindset to grow their knowledge and to just be okay. We are all human, so be okay with expressing yourself in any way that you feel comfortable. We only have one life and focusing on your well-being is never selfish but should be your main priority. There is always hope, even when your mind tells you there isn’t. If you are ever negative towards yourself for how you’re feeling, just remember that it’s okay to not be okay. 

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About the Contributor
Anabella Grimaldo
  Hi, I'm Anabella Grimaldo. I'm 15 years old and a sophomore at South El Monte. One thing about me is that I love to listen to music. Specifically, one of my favorite artists is J Cole. I love his music because a lot of his songs I can relate to or they're pretty positive, in my opinion. I also love eating food, it’s like a comfort to me when I eat foods that my grandma or mom cook, especially when they make pozole which is my favorite food. You can say that I'm the more, keep to myself kinda person but once you get to know me, I'm fun to be around and get along with.  Something I've always wanted to be was a veterinarian because I really love and care for animals but recently I have thought of maybe becoming a lawyer as my future career. So I can help others, hopefully, get the justice that they deserve, and as a bonus, most lawyers make good money. Another thing I hope to do in the future is travel all around the world, as I've never traveled anywhere in all the 15 years I've lived. I'd say going to different countries is such a beautiful experience as you get to view other cultures and lifestyles. I find that we are too busy not looking at life and the world around us to fully appreciate it. And lastly, I am looking forward to becoming a good journalist. 

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