What is Mental Health?


America Juarez, Staff Writer

What is mental health? Mental health is defined as “a state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.”  

     Mental health can affect the everyday life, whether it’s positive or negative. Some disorders include: ADHD, Anxiety, Depression, and Borderline personality disorder. 1 in 5 minors (ages 13-18) have a serious mental illness.

Mental disorders can be detected as early as four years old. This can be caused by many different things. Sometimes, mental illnesses can run through families, generation to generation. If your parents have a disorder, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll have one too, but it’s more likely for you to have a mental disorder. Having an irregular balance of brain chemicals in your neurotransmitters can also cause mental health issues. Neurotransmitters assist nerve cells to communicate with each other, but if the chemicals are not balanced, information can not make it through your brain, causing mental illnesses. Psychological trauma plays a massive role in mental disorders. It can be triggered by trauma suffered as a child, for example physical, mental or sexual abuse.

It’s important to educate the youth about this topic. About 50% of students with a mental illness dropout of school. Schools in New York and Virginia are required to learn about mental health. On July 1, a new law took effect where students will now be learning about mental health throughout middle school and high school. New york and Virginia have now become the first states to do so.

There are organizations for the youth to contact. Organizations like National Institute of Mental Health, National Alliance on Mental Illness, Mental Health America, and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration help educate and support anyone who needs it. Their goal is to make sure everyone understands how important mental health is.

Dana Middle School offers a variety of mental health services for students attending. We have a school psychologist, Mr. Wantanabe, and offers counselling sessions where counselors  work with kids in crisis. Dana also works with outside organizations to provide the resources the students need. IEP counseling and social workers are available for students in need of them. Mental health is important and should be taken seriously.