What should LFHS do to help students with mental health?


Madeline Lawrence, Staff Writer

According to the Adolescent Wellness Academy, one in five teens struggle from mental health disorders. 

As a teenager living in Lake Forest, I have realized that there is a huge stigma around mental health in our community. It’s a topic that is swept under the rug and rarely ever openly talked about. 

Although I do think that there are positive things that are done to benefit students’ mental health, there could be more to help the problem. Here are some things that I think we should implement into our school to help our students further:

Mandatory Meetings with Social Workers

Something that we as a school could do to help students benefit their mental health would be to have a mandatory check in with your social worker. We already have required meetings with our guidance counselors every year, so why isn’t it the same for social workers?

Students should be able to get to know who their social worker is and who to go to when they are struggling. 

“I know a lot of people who struggle and can’t even go down to the social workers because they’re scared they are going to get made fun of,” junior Mariella Haubner said. 

Mandatory meetings would take away some of the stigma around the seemingly simple action of  going into the social workers office to get help.

Open Discussion

In order to break the stigma around mental health and illnesses, we as a community at LFHS should be able to have an open discussion about this topic. 

Community member and mother Katie Ford demonstrated this perfectly in October with her second annual mental health panel, “Break the Stigma.

The school could adopt a similar event but on a smaller scale. Opening up conversations like this within the school could bring a lot of attention to the common issue of students struggling mentally. Making our school a safe and a welcoming environment would benefit all students, even those who are “mentally healthy.” 

Education on Mental Illnesses

All wellness class curriculums should include more in-depth units discussing mental illnesses. Most wellness classes have a unit dedicated towards mental health and illnesses. However, because it is so important there should be more time spent on it. 

The Wellness for Life class curriculum designed for Freshman, for example, only talks about the severe symptoms of depression. 

“I feel that when we are taught about depression in our school, though its rare, the most common symptoms or the only symptoms talked about are ‘thoughts of harm to yourself or others, suicidal thoughts, isolating yourself, giving away possessions,’” senior Abigale Lawrence said. 

This could ultimately disregard the other symptoms of depression that aren’t as severe, but still very real.

Haubner agrees that there should be more obvious ways to get help at the school. 

“Kids have to advocate for themselves to be able to get the help they need at school. Yeah, there are posters around the school and stuff but no one really likes to talk about it,” she said. “I feel as though some teachers really care about their students, and it really shows. But, the school as a whole is much different from a one on one with your teacher.”