Kickin’ It With Katlyn

By Katlyn LaPorte

In high school, mental health is very important. If a high school student isn’t mentally healthy, their high school life can become very difficult.

There are many different types of mental illnesses, such as attention deficit disorder (ADD), anxiety, depression, eating disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), substance abuse, addiction and schizophrenia. These are just a few of the mental illnesses, but they should be considered just as serious as other types of illnesses.

According to nami.org, of all children and teens aged nine to 17, 21 percent have a diagnosable mental or addictive disorder. That is unacceptable. Kids and teens should be focusing on having fun and living life to the fullest while they are young. It is so sad that they have to battle these mental illnesses in addition to the normal stresses of teenage life.

Just sitting in class with the other students in school, it is almost impossible to tell who is battling what kind of problems. The boy or girl who seems happiest may be the one facing the biggest struggles. This is why I personally believe a person should never judge one another before getting to know them.

Mental illnesses can also affect grades and behavior in school. Approximately 50 percent of students age 14 and older who are living with a mental illness drop out of high school. Some of the smartest people I’ve ever met are facing a mental illness or dealing with addiction and it takes a deep toll on their school work.

Without that high school diploma or college degree, those students may not get any opportunities in the future, when in all reality, they could be the ones to someday cure cancer or walk on Mars.

Mental illnesses that go untreated can have serious consequences, such as suicide or self-harm. Suicide is the third leading cause of death in youth ages 14-24. More teenagers and young adults die from suicide than from cancer, heart disease, AIDs, birth defects, strokes and flu combined.

Losing someone in my own class to suicide really opened up my eyes to how serious it really is. The death of just one student definitely changed my small class forever.

There are many negative effects of mental illness. It is very important to not only have good mental health in high school, but also throughout life.

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