The Struggles of Mental Health

Over the past few years, mental health’s effect on education and personal lives has become more and more prominent. Since coming back from virtual learning the absences in class both physically and mentally have been a problem. But what is Apopka High School doing to help these students that struggle with all the stress, anxiety, and overall mentally challenging tasks? Well, other than having the option to speak to our Safe Coordinator, Mr. Carman, or our Mental Health Social Worker, Ms. Ramos, a mental health awareness club has recently been established that is partnered with Our Minds Matter to help kids know that people are listening. Many teachers have also decided to help their students by being willing to talk and having mental health checks.

Once every nine weeks our Safe Coordinator, Mr. Carman, sets up a day that gives students and staff the ability to sit and learn about mental health and some strategies to both cope and identify it. According to Mr. Carman, “The overall goal of the Mental Health Instruction is to assist students create and maintain self care plans and how to seek assistance if there is a greater need than the self care.” If these lessons aren’t helping you personally, Mr. Carman also recommends finding someone you feel comfortable talking to.

The Mental Health Awareness club was initiated this year and sponsored by Mr. Blevins. Mr. Blevins hopes to create a more stable schedule after their meeting on December 6th in room 653, and encourages everyone to come if they are struggling with something and need to talk. With research of his own, Mr. Blevins explains that an estimated 47 million Americans are living with some form of mental health condition, according to Mental Health America. He elaborates, “One can fairly extrapolate that that would be proportionate in our education system, and the students and staff within.”Being one of the main reasons he decided to establish this club. Another reason was because of one of Apopka’s very own graduates, ┬áKendall Lindsey, she “discovered the club in the search for a support group for students in the darkest days of the pandemic. Everyone was struggling with how to respond and how to cope. The timing seemed to fit, and I was happy to jump on board. Alanis Cruz has picked up the reins for Kendall, and we continue to evolve,” explains Mr. Blevins.

One of the teachers at our school goes as far as doing mental health checks every Wednesday to ensure the well being of her students. Mrs. Rash is an 11th grade US History teacher here at Apopka and takes the mental health of her kids very seriously. “I think that their mental health isn’t taken seriously and because it blends in, it affects their ability to learn. Like if a kid in here is having a rough day that’s as serious as having a kid being sick to me.” says Mrs. Rash. Her actions haven’t gone unnoticed, some teachers have also chosen to follow in Mrs. Rash’s footsteps and introduce mental health checks into their classroom.

A very valuable resource that isn’t discussed much is the option to go talk to our school’s social worker, Ms. Ramos. Her job is to help students and staff handle everyday life problems, and your mental health can be a very important part of that. Ms. Ramos believes, “Mental health is your well being in general, when we look at mental illness though, that’s conditions of mental health issues. So it could be anything from anxiety, depression, or even having some phycosystis, but it could also be things we experience all the time we just don’t label it that because it doesn’t affect us in a way that impairs us.” She was also able to give The Blue and White many resources if you are struggling finding someone to share your feelings with. (These resources can be found at the bottom of the article.)

The constant stressors of the education system can make it very hard to keep a positive, healthy mindset. Luckily, Apopka has given us many different methods of dealing with these stressors whether it’s joining our mental health club, talking to a staff member or mental health advisor, or simply taking our mental health lessons more seriously.