School and Mental Health

School and Mental Health


According to Elements Behavioral Health, 25% of all teens are affected by anxiety of some form. This can include more than just generalized anxiety, such as social anxiety, panic, OCD, and other disorders. This statistic is staggering, and there are a variety of possible causes for this increase overtime. One of them is the center-point in a teen’s life: school.

Specifically, one of the main causes of stress in school is the rising pressure to do well. High expectations increase during high school, which are usually related to getting into college. Each grade is treated as a make-or-break, as maintaining a high GPA is one of the biggest priorities in high school life. Students are encouraged to make challenging, high-demand classes, as this will impact a college’s assessment of a student’s application.

Maintaining school work and juggling assignments is a stress inducer alone, but the rest of one’s life outside of high school is often more overwhelming. Factoring in sports, work, extracurriculars, family, and friends on top of school is a difficult balancing act, and choosing which order to prioritize everything is daunting for most students.

I met with Mr. Gore, a guidance counselor at Pentucket High School, to further discuss the importance of keeping mental health a priority in both school and life. Mr. Gore expressed his wholehearted agreement with this cause, and stated students often “don’t take enough time” in their lives to focus on maintaining their mental health. As these anxieties remain undealt with, Mr. Gore says it can be “hard to succeed” in school because of this mental strain.

During our discussion, Mr. Gore referred to a Healthline article, “16 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress and Anxiety.” As he talked, he highlighted specific tips that he especially agreed with. One of the number one ways he finds best relieves and controls stress is exercise. This obviously includes sports, but Mr. Gore notes any kind of physical activity is beneficial, specifically one where an individual is part of a team or interacting with others. According to the article, exercise also lowers the body’s stress hormones, improves sleep quality, and increases confidence. Mr. Gore also highlights the importance of writing things down. Using a planner to write out all the assignments one has to do that day helps to organize the day and prevent procrastination. Mr. Gore also touched upon making time for the things you know will relax you, such as spending time with friends and family. He also mentioned learning to say no, and trying not to take on too much at once during the day or week.

Mr. Gore concluded his thoughts by mentioning the importance of being a “well-rounded student,” and that while of course academics is important, balancing grades with other things in life is what makes someone truly successful. Mr. Gore wishes to remind students to “find time for you,” and asks the question “how do you make yourself feel good?” He advises students to remember this and make it a part of their routines. Finally, he wants to remind struggling students that they are not in life alone, and that there are always people that will support you.