May Is Mental Health Awareness Month PART 2: A STUDENT’S GUIDE TO MENTAL HEALTH

Staff Writer

By Lila Bennett, B.S.
Director of Marketing, Development and Community Relations
Northeast Kingdom Human Services, Inc.

Being a student is stressful, and according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), approximately one in five youth aged 13–18 live with mental health conditions and approximately 75 percent of people with mental health issues develop them prior to the age of 24. Mental health conditions can feel debilitating and scary, making some individuals retreat inward rather than seek help.
The Anxiety and Depression Association of America found that one in eight children are affected by anxiety, yet 80 percent of those with a diagnosable anxiety disorder do not receive treatment. This is a key part of the conversation that needs to be considered today. We need to change the idea that “something is shamefully wrong” when a child is suffering from anxiety, depression or other mental health issues, rather than being approached as a problem like any other ailment. By going without counseling, medication, and other helpful tools for treating anxiety, children are likely to experience long–reaching issues. Anxiety disorders have been on the rise in K–12 children since at least the 1950s and studies show that numbers are expected to continue rising in the coming years. Awareness brings recognition and as we as a culture understand the effects of anxiety and depression, we can have better conversations, leading to better treatment. (Read more in the Express every Thursday in May)