“Every school, it seems, has a moment that crystallizes the crisis facing America’s youth and the pressure it is putting on educators. For one middle school counselor in rural California, it came this year after a suicide prevention seminar, when 200 students emerged saying they needed help. Many were sixth graders.” –AP News
If you have students in your life right now, you know that the kids are not all right. Compounded crises—from school shootings to the COVID pandemic to the ever-more-visible harms of climate change—have accelerated a trend of increasing rates of anxiety and depression in students. As adults, we have a responsibility to know the facts and to act, but we also have an opportunity to listen to and learn from the lived experiences of young people.
Youth Voices Normalizing Mental Health
We invite you to listen and learn from these stories by middle and high school students published on the KQED Youth Media Showcase.
Understanding the Need for More Mental Health Support
- Do schools actually care about our mental health? Diana proposes ways schools can step up to help students.
- Mental illness in youth Anya focuses on the need to normalize getting help for mental illness and increasing availability of resources.
- The Importance of Mental Health Resources Ciara proposes solutions for how schools can better support students’ mental health.
Grades and Burn Out
- Is the grading system burning out students all over the world? Malorie highlights how the grading system can profoundly affect students’ well being.
- Student Stress and Mental Health Nhuahao shares how the pressure of homework and extracurriculars caused burn out.
- Academic Validation Taking a Toll on Mental Health Kyler looks at the health toll of working so hard to get into a “prestigious” university.
- How Gen-Z Romanticizes Mental Health on Social Media Sheyla looks at how the casual use of labels like “OCD” or “panic attack” can trivialize the experience of those who experience these medical conditions.
- Social Media Issues Madison’s political cartoon shows ways that social media impacts mental health.
Society and Mental Health
- How Climate Change Affects Your Mood Renée and Tevin investigate how changes in the environment can impact our mental health.
- The Daily Lie Connie’s political cartoon shows the burdens teens carry and the impact of pretending they are doing fine.
- Latino Community and Mental Health Mayra wants to raise awareness about the importance of mental health in the Latino community.
- Pandemic Positives (Not That Type of Positive) Catherine talks about how the COVID-19 pandemic has shown us that we all collectively need to be more compassionate, especially in a school setting.
More Ways to Normalize Talking About Mental Health
Peer Health Exchange’s selfsea is a peer-to-peer platform with free resources, support, and stories from young people who’ve been there. selfsea is for young people aged 13-18 designed as a safe space to discuss and share knowledge on identity, mental health, and sexual health.
These Above the Noise episodes can help destigmatize mental health and bring facts and research into classroom conversation.