‘Mental health is a part of being human’


Rachel Cohen

This week, Pascack Valley senior Kayla Barry discusses what mental health means to her. She talks about its importance as well as the need to create a support system and balance time effectively.

Editor’s Note: Kayla’s Korner will be a reoccurring column that deals with mental health and teenage issues.

According to Merriam-Webster, mental health is “the general condition of one’s mental and emotional state.”

This definition is very general, but to me, mental health is very complex.

Mental health is in every aspect of our lives. It affects how people think, how we feel, and how we act. It can also determine how we handle situations (especially stress related ones), make relationships, relate to others, and make choices.

Mental health is a part of being human. It can be something that is both positive and negative.

If mental health is taken care in the correct manner, it can lead to the positives of having a healthy lifestyle, relaxing, and allowing an individual to cope properly with varying situations.

The negatives of mental health, though, can be mental illnesses like depression or anxiety (which I have). Specifically, these illnesses can lead to suicidal ideation, self-harm thoughts, sadness, eating disorders, panic and anxiety attacks, and many more problems.

Although mental illnesses play a large role in many people’s lives (including mine), there are ways to cope with them. For me, I have medication for anxiety and depression. Medication, though, does not solve these illnesses. It does help, but does not make it completely go away. Coping skills and surrounding yourself with supportive friends and family really do have an impact, as well as seeking help in either a therapist or someone you trust.

Mental health needs to be looked after. If not, it can lead to a rapid decline of happiness in one’s daily life.

If you have a mental illness and it is not looked after, it can keep getting worse and be harder to treat. It can also lead to physical health problems like chronic stress which has the potential to lead to heart attacks, stroke, and obesity. Another physical health problem that could happen is diabetes as many people that do not look after their mental health lead to less awareness of an individual’s diet.

Not receiving treatment for mental health can also lead to homelessness or job stability issues. The more mental health is left not cared for, the more it is likely to interfere with your ability to do your job and create relationships with other people.

You can look after your mental health by talking to your friends and family. You should build a support system in case you ever need to talk about problems or stress in your life.

Setting goals, prioritizing what is important, and balancing your time effectively are other methods to keep your mental health in mind. This allows you to deal with problems easier. Another thing you can do to maintain a good mental health is to be mindful. You can do this by focusing on the present and not worrying about things that happened in the past or will be happening in the future.

Mental health is very important. It must be talked about and awareness must be spread to end the stigma. People need to be educated about what mental illness really is. Stories and experiences should be shared to let people know that they are not alone.

Coming next: Kayla’s Korner will be continuing with weekly articles. Next week, Kayla Barry will discuss the need for a mental awareness day at Pascack Valley.