Mental Health in Teens

Merissa Echaniz, Staff Writer

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You might have seen articles or news stories about mental health in teenagers and how important it is. It’s relevant because it affects the way you act. Being aware of your mental well-being and how it affects your learning and behavior is important. When your mental health deteriorates or improves, it affects your physical health and the way you conduct yourself. When I asked Elijah Lotz who is the behavioral specialist at Health Point how our mental health affects our behavior he mentioned,

“Well you know when we are deciding what to do and how to do it, our mood and our feelings can really impact what we decide to do…”

“For example, if you’re feeling sad and down you feel less motivated to go out and do fun things with your friends feel maybe less motivated to complete school work. Our behavior is oftentimes really impacted by how we’re feeling.” 

Also, when we’re distracted with things that make us anxious or upset, it distracts our learning. What is significant to remember is that there are signs that you can notice in yourself and others. I asked Mr. Lotz what are the key signs you can look for in yourself and others to know if your mental health is deteriorating. He stated, “Some signs you can look for in yourself and other people. Pulling back from friends and loved ones, kind of unexplained or sudden stopping of like communication with people who normally are friends with, or you know… Loved ones. Other signs are looking down; so, if someone who appears to be sad or down moving really slowly, avoiding things that are challenging.” When people are having a difficult time with anxiety, they’ll avoid things like crowded places or presentations in class; Things that would increase anxiety levels, which are some signs you could look for. 

When you notice these signs in somebody you care about or in yourself, it’s important that either you get help, or you help others find the help you or they need. When talking to Mr. Lotz, he conveyed how nobody is alone, but it’s important to find help. Everybody struggles with issues, but being able to find the right outlets is important. Renton High School students can always make appointments at Health Point if they are struggling- There are many other places outside of school that you can use as outlets; all these places have online websites as well. Some outlets out in the community that you can use for mental health are RAYS; Renton Area Youth & Family Services, Valley Cities, Sound Health, King County sexual assault Resource Center. 

If there’s somebody that you think is struggling, and you want to help them. You should bring it up to them. When bringing a more sensitive topic like mental health up to somebody, always start with how much you care about them. You want them to know that you hope they are doing okay as well as letting them know you care and not that you’re just being nosey. Keep in mind that not everybody wants or accepts help, but if you approach the subject correctly, you can probably open their thoughts about reaching out to somebody for help if needed. Remember not to pressure them or make them feel like they’re in a corner because that could lead to more shutting down and no communication. 

Your mental health is important and being able to tell key signs when you or somebody else’s mental health is deteriorating is very beneficial. Knowing what to do and who or what to reach out to is a powerful life skill to possess. If you need help, find an outlet that’ll support you.