Across the nation, teenagers’ mental health is worsening and schools are trying to aid the mental health crisis. Be it through staff resources or wellness week, many agree that it is time to start promoting student health.
Teachers and students alike have noticed a falling level of mental wellness.
“I think [mental health] is significantly worse,” social studies teacher Rachel Clements said. “I read this really alarming article on the rates of teen suicide and depression and they match statistically perfectly with the rise of social media. It went on to say that teenagers these days feel so much pressure in ways that people in my generation did not.”
Similarly, students have felt increasingly stressed and noticed it amongst their peers.
“Honestly, I know so many people can get stressed out as they… go through high school,” sophomore Julia Schwartz said.
In response, the CHS SGA held a Wellness Week April 8 – 12 during which students were invited to attend specialized activities such as meditation, coloring pages, and even a yoga session. Students could unwind and watch Inside Out for two periods, and the week ended with students making stress balls in the cafeteria courtyard.
The same week included a series of spirit days including wearing pajamas to “chillax,” and then “dress for success” in college or future career-themed clothing. Students participated in “Winner Wednesday,” sporting sports clothing. On “Thriving Thursday,” students were encouraged to wear their favorite outfits, and they finished off their week in Clarksburg gear for “Fam Friday.”
Some students felt that there is room for improvement in wellness weeks such as this.
“I think people… do not take it seriously at all,” sophomore Asma Tariq said.
Similarly, others felt that future wellness weeks would need to be advertised more clearly in order to be effective.
“I feel like they should be more broadcasted; I didn’t really know about them until after it started,” Schwartz said.
Regardless, the concept of a wellness week shows that the school has students’ best interests in mind.
“I do think it is a good step in the right direction to draw attention to a really big problem,” Clements said.
Though schools have begun taking action, further action is necessary.
Some students attribute stress primarily to workloads, such as Schwartz who said, “I feel like the only way to [help] is lessened homework load, but I know that can be really difficult, so I don’t know if there is anything the school can do.”
Other suggest altering health curriculums to increase education and awareness.
“I think the way that they teach mental health in classes isn’t realistic, because not everyone always has the same form of depression or mental health issues, Tariq said.
Also, increased mental health professionals available to students could promote wellness.
“I feel like our school should have more resources when it comes to actual therapy because most of our guidance counselors are so overwhelmed with scheduling and college recommendations that they don’t have much time for counseling,” Clements said.
In such a time of need for students and their mental health, Clarksburg should continue taking steps to promote wellness for their students. Every new initiative can benefit students here at Clarksburg and countywide, especially in such a crucial time in their lives.