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Mental Health, an everyday struggle

Fair warning, this story will contain sensitive topics about mental health, including suicide. Mental health has many forms. It could be trauma, depression, anxiety, and much more. According to US Department of Health & Human Services, it’s estimated that about 49.5% of adolescents will have a mental health disorder in their lifetime, and 46% of people who commit suicide have some mental health disorder. There is help out there, but our minds make it seem hopeless. I have gone through this struggle and I’m still battling it.
My experience with mental health started when I was in elementary school, because I was bullied throughout. I was also antisocial and barely had friends. During that time I felt alone, like I had no one to depend on. I also moved around a lot, so when I made friends, I had to leave them behind shortly after, and being homeless most of the time didn’t help either. To make matters worse, shortly after summer break started, I found out that my grandma had become terminally ill. All of these aspects made it seem that fate itself was against me.
I recently started therapy. I’ve been seeing my therapist for about 3 weeks now, and she has helped me by having me think about the positives in my life. Currently, she’s helping me through my past trauma. Since I started therapy, I’ve been fighting to quiet these negative thoughts and telling myself that I deserve all of the good things I have, no matter what my past looked like. I know that you can never permanently defeat depression, but it is possible to learn how to live with it.
There are other ways to help with mental health like medication, but the problem with medication is that it could take awhile for the effects to kick in and it takes a while to find the right meds for someone. According to the US Department of Health & Human Services, a great many people go to therapy. Around 41.7 million people go to therapy for their mental health, and about 15.8% of those people also take medication; 60% of people see a 50% reduction of depression symptoms within two months of taking medication.
Another reason medication can be unreliable is because most parents don’t want their kids on medication. According to the Mayo Clinic, some reasons that parents don’t want their kids on antidepressants are because it could trigger anxiety, agitation, hostility, restlessness, or impulsive behavior. These are also signs that the medication isn’t working and the persons depression is getting worse or the child has developed suicidal thoughts. Medications can also be very expensive, and some people don’t have the insurance or money for this, but the school is here to help with that. They can set up therapy for students and help with medicare, but that’s not the only resource.
At our school, counselors help kids with their mental health problems on a daily basis. Mandy Orth Gibney is the counselor for students with last names G-K; she is also one of the advisors of the Mental Health Matters club. “Well, fortunately, we get to work with kids and students everyday, it could be a quick check-in or multiple check-ins and that could make a difference for the kid to help them through a tough or difficult situation,” she said.
The school counselors are here to help us through any struggle. Advice Orth Gibney regularly gives is: “A lot of times people just say ‘well be happy’ or ‘deal with it’ which is the wrong thing to say, recognizing that people struggle with mental health could help people understand it better.” At the end of the day, understanding mental health can benefit anyone.
There are many students who struggle with their mental health. Another freshman, who won’t be named for their comfort and privacy, here at North shared the following: “[My mental health,] It’s complicated. Like, mental health as a whole is something similar to a couple of strings. The more things happen, the more tangled they get. You might think at first that the knots would be easy to get rid of, but soon it spirals out of control. You often should find help or friends if you find it getting there. I myself have gone through my fair share of depression and anxiety in my life, and also experience derealization episodes to this day. So, in short, I’ve experienced the ups and downs.”
Mental health affects relationships as well. “Oftentimes, as my feelings get more and more tangled, I push myself away from people. Not really intentionally, but it damages some relationships. When I am able to get back up, I try to mend those relationships,” they said.
What advice do they have for how to cope? “I dealt with it by doing what I love and surrounding myself with things that make me happy. Even if it only helps for a short while, anyone who’s going through these kinds of things should ask for help and keep up the good work. If they’ve made it this far they’re doing great,” they said.
But at the end of the day, we all deserve to have the best life we can live. There’s a lot of ways to seek help that I didn’t name. If you are having suicidal thoughts you can dial 988, call First Link at (701) 293-6462, or talk to a trusted adult about it. Help is always out there. Be safe and be strong, you’re not alone.
(note: my grandma died as of Aug. 18th, 2023, May her soul rest in peace )

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Dominick Brown, Writer/ Copy Editor
Bonjour, my name is Dominick Brown. I'm a sophomore at FNH and I’m a writer/copy editor for the newspaper. I’m involved in Technical Theater and Umoja. I am also the founder and co-adviser of the North High Grief Share group. I have 3 brothers and one sister. I have 3 pets, a chinchilla named Momo, a dog named milo, and a cat named Sushi. I've lived in Fargo for about 2 years now.  I joined the Scroll because I wanted to tackle the problems in the school and make them known and give pointers on how to handle them, and to give my opinion on certain issues.
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