As many of you may know May this year was mental health awareness month and yeah I’m a little late but “There’s no time like the present” or however that saying goes. Now I know that may not mean much to many of you because you get lectures on mental health in classes or cheesy videos that teachers are required to show, but that’s my point they show them because they are required to, and it’s part of their job. As you’ve probably heard from at least one if not all of your teachers this year “This is a stressful time for all of us” which I am getting pretty sick of hearing. If teachers know it’s a stressful time, then why all the homework? It’s a pretty controversial topic and I could argue about it for hours on end but I’m not here to argue, I’m here to inform.
Mental health plays a role in all of our lives I’d like to think and school isn’t exactly helpful in that aspect and I know there’s some debate about what should come first, mental health or school and honestly, it boggles my mind how many people will tell you school is at the front of your priorities. I was recently faced with the question “would you rather have a job that you hated that paid well or any job of your choosing that you loved but didn’t pay super great” and as you may have guessed I went with a job of my choosing and my reasoning for that went with the phrase “you only live once” now I know that’s not definite but I like to believe it is so that I can make decisions with that in mind. My point is that I’d rather be happy with my life. I get to choose how it goes rather than upset with it because I spend all my time on it and it ultimately does nothing for me. This leads me back to the mental health of students. I’d much rather have a healthy life in every aspect except for school if I had the choice, healthy social life, healthy family life, and the list goes on and they all sound better than having a good grade in geometry or human geography. But that’s just my opinion, so for more credibility, I asked other students at our high school what they think about mental health.
I asked a few peers of mine if they thought that mental health was more important than grades in the long run and here are some of the responses I got. “Yeah, definitely mental health is lasting the rest of your life and yes school is important for getting jobs and stuff like that but mental health is more important in the long run because you may end up in a place you don’t want to be in mentally and end up [censored] which is way bigger of a deal than any job you could ever get” this student was as delicate as a jackhammer and his message was amazingly accurate. The second person I asked kept his response short and sweet but still put thought into it and was on point. He says: “yes because grades don’t cause illnesses or potentially harm, and because you can do makeup work or things like that to improve grades” and finally the last response “yes, even if I get hella rich I’m gonna look back at my childhood when I didn’t have to worry about money and think ‘wasted’ what about all those parties I could’ve gone to and if I don’t prioritize grades and end up poor but happy I won’t have long to regret my decision” she was thinking about the future and what would matter long term.
Mental health problems can affect a student’s energy level, concentration, dependability, mental ability, and optimism, hindering performance. Research suggests that depression is associated with lower grade point averages and that co-occurring depression and anxiety can increase this association and yet people still say grades come first and honestly, I can’t think of any better reasons to convince those kinds of people otherwise. Mental health is important for everybody, don’t belittle another person’s problems because you think you might have it worse. Reach out to everyone no matter how happy you may think they are, everyone deserves to be thought and cared about. Mental health comes first.