Let’s talk Mental Health

Take care of your head and your heart, not just your physical body.


Ally Merrion and Mia Paulson

Mental health is a very very pressing issue that doesn’t seem to get much press. Psychology and Psychiatry are, admittedly, baby sciences that have only gained importance in the last hundred years. However, how we should deal with day to day mental health doesn’t seem to be talked about very often.

Coronavirus has taken a huge toll on people struggling with mental health, and has made mental health worse for people without preexisting mental health conditions. No one seems to be talking about this, and if they are, no one is doing anything about it.

Humans are biologically wired to function better with other humans, we work, think, and feel better in groups. Studies have shown that when people group together, they accomplish tasks better, faster, and with much less stress. When COVID-19 hit we were forced to isolate ourselves, while this was a precaution for our physical health, it created a huge deficit in our mental health. In addition to total isolation, people were faced with sudden unemployment and financial difficulty. Anxiety that comes with worrying about your health and the health of your family definitely adds extra stress. People had to face that alone! We are not designed to face anxiety that way, which is why it commonly leads to depression. Recent studies are showing that 1 in 4 adults have attempted suicide over the past six months, additionally, hospitals and health lines have seen a 63% increase in drug related deaths. These suicides and drug overdoses are “deaths of despair” according to the Well Being Trust, a foundation dedicated to mental health. They estimate that COVID-19 could cause upwards of 15,000 deaths of despair.

Sports are very important for everyone’s mental health, especially for high school and college students. Physical movement releases endorphins, hormones that boost the brain and make one happy. Happiness is imperative to good, strong mental health. Now, with the changes of the times for high school sports’ seasons, many are doing nothing – and, honestly, do not know if they actually will be able to participate in their sport later on, because a rise in COVID-19 cases could shut it down in an instant. Not having the hormones produced by exercise is leaving athletes in a deficit, they are having to adjust to the very sudden withdrawal of their happy chemicals. The lack of physical activity and day-to-day movement is taking a major toll on people’s mental health around the world.

The physical aspect of sports is not the only contributing factor to mental health, but community is also a very important aspect. Watching sports, whether it be on the sidelines or sitting on the couch, brings people together. Giving people the high of sports is so important, that even in World War II baseball continued. The country understood the need to keep the morale and mental health of the citizens up. So, sports stayed.

As high school students, we need to be around our friends. Teenagers rely on social interaction to boost our moods and to form crucial social skills we will use in our futures. Taking away and limiting our contact with our friends  is not helping us or keeping us safe. It is hurting us. Isolating us will only exacerbate the problems we’re facing, limiting our contact with friends will only add to our stress. Poor mental health can be dangerous! We need to be taking precautions to help our head and hearts, not just our physical bodies. Less than one percent of kids who get COVID die from it, and even before the virus, suicide was the third leading cause of death in teenagers, according to the CDC. “We’re seeing, sadly, far greater suicides now than we are deaths from COVID. We’re seeing far greater deaths from drug overdose.” said CDC director Robert Redfield.

Poor mental health is spreading and causing destruction. Without proper outlets and social groups, there is no way for kids, teenagers, or adults to get help. Especially during COVID and isolation, it is an issue. Yes, a virus is upon us. But when the virus is not directly affecting as many teenagers as suicide, you know there is an problem. Mental health is just as important as physical health.

If you are struggling with your mental health, please talk to someone!! You are important and loved, there are people here who want you here and can help you. Go see the counselors or an adult you trust if you need to talk to someone or find a friend who will listen to you. If you aren’t struggling, be someone who can help. Listen to your friends and help them with their problems, even just smiling at someone (even if you’re masked) can change their day for the better.

Take care of yourself and take care of each other, go hangout with your friends! Stay physically safe while you’re being mentally safe. Your mental health is just as important as your physical health. Know that you are loved and you are good enough.

Text HOME to 741741 to immediately connect with a Crisis Counselor

Call 1-800-273-8255 for the suicide hotline