Mental Health In The Home


Hina K. Namauu, Reporter

Mental Health is often not talked about in schools or even in households. Mental health is often viewed as an excuse and you’re told to get over it, that “you’re fine”, or that you are faking it. Mental health is viewed as taboo in some households. It’s not something that is talked about. Even when it is brought up and talked about it’s a rushed discussion.
Junior Ella Terry is currently having to deal with depression and anxiety alone. The school mainly stresses her out and gives her a hard time. Grades are important to her and when she sees a low score it brings her down.
“Mental health is extremely important, maybe even more important than physical health. Despite this, it’s not talked about enough nor made important enough to people.”, said Terry.
Mental health isn’t talked about enough in schools. Some feel as if it should be talked about in the home. With the way mental health is constantly pushed back and never talked about suicide, a rating is slowly going up.
Utah´s suicide rate has shot up 46.5% since 1999.
“Mental health isn´t taken seriously and is disregarded until someone commits suicide so it’s like they have to pretend to care for a little bit but after that, they go back to pretending it doesn´t exist,” said Terry.
In many households and cultures, mental health isn’t something that is talked about and if it is it’s swept under the rug. Many Polynesians are taught that showing any type of depression or mental health issues that itś an excuse. In all reality, you’re ok when you’re not.
Due to mental health not being taught in the home nor at school young people are struggling with learning how to cope.
Clara P. Sullivan, a graduate from Herriman High School class of 2014 has been dealing with social anxiety and depression since her junior year of high school. “Growing up it wasn’t talked about in my home. I didn’t know much about mental disorders or how to manage my own emotions so I coped in a lot of unhealthy ways or avoided dealing with them together.”
To better know how she was feeling she did a lot of research on the way she felt. When she learned about depression and social anxiety it all clicked for her. She felt validated in the way she felt.
When she went to her parents explaining what she was feeling and going through they pushed it aside and didn’t take her seriously. She was told that she was just unmotivated and lazy. It wasn’t till later when she was having heart palpitations that her parents took her seriously.
“Later I developed a disorder called ‘misophonia’ which means that certain sounds trigger my fight or flight and intense anxiety.”
Due to the misophonia, eating dinner at the table with her family became impossible as she would constantly fidget and twitch trying to fight the anxiety.
“I was punished for ‘making everyone at the table uncomfortable.’ I started to feel like I was a burden and that no one listened or cared about me or my emotions because my parents were so dismissive and offered no comfort and little sympathy saying it was all in my head and it made me feel guilty and responsible for the way that I felt when it wasn’t.”
Sullivan is a Native Hawaiian/European/Latina. Due to the mixes of cultures, she was stuck in the endless stereotypes of mental health that don’t exist. She was dismissed by her own family as lazy and unmotivated.
Being dismissed in your feelings especially with mental health often results in having to deal with more trauma later.
“Now I’m older and am still trying to work through the traumas that I didn’t work through when they happened to result in a lot of emotional baggage and triggers that still weigh on me. I still find it difficult to express or talk about my emotions and have had to find out ways to cope and fix my mental health predominately on my own.”
Mental health is often dismissed no matter what culture or background you come from. Being dismissed as a teenager struggling with mental health makes it harder for the teen to open up to parents. It tends to be hard opening up about mental health, especially for parents. As a parent you never want your kid to be in harm’s way or ever have to deal with any type of mental health. Our parents are scared and don’t know how to talk about mental health. This is where the dismissal comes from.
Robert Smith, a junior at West High School, said,” Mental health is very important in my opinion, but it’s often neglected. in my home, it’s mentioned frequently but it’s always a quick conversation without meaning.”
Smith explained that he has learned a lot about mental health and his struggles. He just never learned it from his family which oftentimes concerns him. He has noticed how it is talked about and especially the circumstances it is talked about.
“It’s taken seriously when it’s related to destructive behavior but otherwise, it’s kinda swept under the rug. Mental health is a pretty taboo subject here, if I bring up anything suicide-related, everyone gets uncomfortable and it just intensifies my feelings.”
Smith explained how when talking to his family about dealing with his mental health it just makes everyone uncomfortable and the topic is often changed quickly. This makes him feel as if his feelings are never valued. He told me he mainly leans on the very few people he trusts.
As it is hard for him to open up now. “I hide my mental health issues to this day. I’ve learned I can’t trust many people with that much negative information over me and so I lock it away. I constantly deal with it alone and it’s just a reality for me now.”
Smith is learning how to deal with mental health on his own. He is currently going to therapy. He has kept in contact with me through his therapy process.
“Therapy was hard for me. I still deal with my mental health issues alone but, it’s been a new experience listening to someone who doesn’t know me like my friends.”
Reaching out to get help or even take the right medication helps a lot without you even realizing it. It can make the change you need to cope with mental health in the healthiest way possible. “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. By going without counseling, medication, and other helpful tools for treating anxiety, children are likely to experience long-reaching issues.”
There are multiple resources teenagers can reach out to when dealing with mental health. SafeUT is a crisis and tip line. You can talk to someone online. You can even remain anonymous.
For anyone acutely contemplating suicide for feeling that this is their only option, call the Suicide Hotline at (800)273-8255.
There is always someone there to listen. At the school, they may be counselors or the school psychologist students can reach out to or even make an appointment to go sit and talk to them. Struggling students can also reach out to the Hope Squad via Mx. Floch (F-207) or Ms. Lavely (F-206) who teaches students who struggle with mental health how to communicate and healthily cope with their mental health.