“For years, I have never understood where I was supposed to get emotional help. After my dad was killed by a drunk driver, where was I supposed to go? I was distraught, couldn’t focus in my classes, and felt like no one understood what I was going through. I would assume the place that I spent 34 hours a week at would provide help. I struggled for years with feeling hopeless, yet there were no resources available. No student should have to pay hundreds of dollars to talk to someone.
As student body president, I heard every generic concern possible from administrators: How can we get test scores up? Getting students more engaged in class? I, at one point, was given a list of 150 issues and future goals by my schools administration: none of which included the mental and overall health of students, despite the crisis we face in society today. 18% of 11th graders on my campus considered suicide in the last 12 months. 36% of 11th graders felt hopeless/sad every day for the past two weeks or longer. Yet, nobody was listening.
All they saw were test scores and engagement. And I’m ecstatic to announce I found a solution to get test scores up, improve engagement and so many others! No it’s not more studying. It’s not more discipline. It’s something that cannot be taught or emphasized in a calculus class or some standardized test. It’s reaching out to the student who struggles with mental illness who has nowhere to go. The student who’s having a rough day and needs someone to open up to. The student who has been struggling financially and has a hard home life. The student who struggles in school but is lost in the system that teaches every students like a cookie cutter. Don’t get me wrong: it’s not these underpaid, compassionate, loving adults who work in education who are at fault- they work in a broken system that merely looks at students as dollar signs and test scores. Everyone needs help at some point, but the sad reality is, there just hasn’t been the resources or the awareness- times are changing. After two years of advocating, hundreds of meetings and countless committees- I’m beyond excited to announce that a plan is being implemented to bring on a intern school psychologist at my high school, and I will be working in the community to spread the word. But, there’s still more we need to do as a society. If this issue has been on your heart and you believe schools should have psychologists, share this message and spread the word. Every school campus should prioritize their students health above all. Remember, you are loved! Always put yourself first ❤️”