Putting mental health first


Carly Lundry

A series of books discussing psychology and mental health

Carly Lundry, News Editor

It is evident that poor mental health among younger generations has been on the rise in public schooling, teaching kids that their pain is not important.

In regards to mental health, the issues most commonly linked together are anxiety and depression. Students in Pleasant Valley have been given countless resources to ensure their academic success, but very few truly care about students’ well-being.

Being physically ill can easily give a student an excused absence from school, but feeling emotional distress does not get the same reaction. Anxiety and depression have become so normal in modern culture that it is something many students expect to experience during their high school years. By not allowing students to leave school for their mental health, it teaches them that it is wrong to experience those feelings. It teaches them that they should not talk about it.

Ann Berger, an English and Psychology teacher at Pleasant Valley High School, stands out among the rest as someone who does take time to personally understand her students and care about their mental health. “If you are experiencing anxiety and depression, the cover-up is more work, which leads to more layers of anxiety,” Berger said. Holding emotional pain inside, which is what students have a tendency to do, may be the basis of their increase in anxiety.

High school teens are constantly busy and therefore, overworked. In the midst of this chaos, it is crucial that students understand the importance of taking time for mental health. Berger believes there is no source needed to back this up. Students are familiar with the positive effects of participating in something out of happiness or pleasure, however, schools are shifted more towards the importance of physical health..

Addie Even, a senior, has to stay home from school sometimes because she knows it is for the best. “It’s extremely refreshing. There are days I need a break from people and school and it’s nice to rest on days where it feels impossible to get out of bed; it makes me feel a lot better,” Even said. 

If schools learn to accept that it is normal for students to  feel emotional pain, it will help with self acceptance among students.. Mental health should be taken as seriously as physical health, and it begins with schools taking action. “We are already telling them that they are wrong and different. If lies are the only ways to express ourselves, the implicit takeaway is that they are not important,” Berger said.