Tips From a Teen

I received this essay from my grand daughter. I know she is smart, but her essay convinces me that she is a lot smarter than I thought.

You Are Not Alone

This world needs you. Mental health is one of the most important things in my life. There are very few topics that ignite such a flame in me as this one does. I am actively spreading awareness of the importance of prioritizing your own mental health. It seems so simple, but it is single-handedly, one of the hardest things to do. Your mind will make you feel “selfish” or “conceited” just for taking care of yourself; however, it is so far from that. I know what it feels like, I was there and I still am there, but it is possible to get better. You are not alone in it. 

Mental health is normal. Every individual has a mind that can become overloaded with thoughts that can be hard to handle. Some people can manage it well, while others cannot. This does not make an individual “weaker” than the other, rather it shows how human they are. Humans are far form perfect, thus why needing help should be routine; however, society has stigmatized asking for help. I will admit, I struggle to ask for help, I am very stubborn. Even when my health is struggling, I do not like relying on someone, but there comes a time where it becomes unhealthy. As Lindsey Spencer explained, “The pandemic has shown many of us that asking for help is vital.” (Spencer). In the desperate times of need, we have grown to see that needed help is okay. “In a study by the American Psychological Association, it was found that referrals received by psychologists doubled (from 37% to 62%) from 2020 to 2021, and that 68% of psychologists reported an increase in the number of individuals on their waitlists.” (Spencer). In this period depression and anxiety were at new highs, and people realized help was the only option. The stigma behind anything comes from two kinds: self and public stigma. Although these related closely to each other, they vary. Public stigma is stereotypes about mental health and therapy. Spencer explains, “We find ourselves avoiding counseling because of the negative markers being applied to us.” (Spencer).  Self stigma is the self doubt and labeling ourselves as “worthless” or “unwanted”. These stigmas are the reason people don’t receive the help they need. I think the most important thing that can be done is changing the narrative about mental health and therapy into something positive. Although mental illness can be horrible and hard to handle, knowing that there is a possibility to manage it better should be the way it is looked at. Making the conversation about mental health more common will make this “uncomfortable” topic normal.

The world is forever changing and adapting. Society today has made progress in regard to mental health, especially in recent years, but COVID-19 took a heavy toll on many individuals experiencing loss, anxieties of health, and depression from isolation. Accepting that mental illness is real became more and more common because according to Mental Health America, “20.78% of adults were experiencing a mental illness in 2019-2020.” (MHA). The cases of mental illnesses grew exceptionally, however, with this growth in numbers there are not enough accessible care options for all. Although the knowledge of mental illness is prevalent in many families, it is very stigmatized in other households. This, therefore, inhibits these individuals to receive the help and care needed. Mental Health America also states, “Almost a third (28.2%) of all adults with a mental illness reported that they were not able to receive the treatment they needed. 42% of adults with AMI reported they were unable to receive necessary care because they could not afford it” (MHA). Making it nearly impossible to receive mental healthcare for everyone proves the conversation about mental health is even more important. Providing more accessible mental healthcare is possible by improving the training and collaborations between primary care doctors and mental health professionals. The majority of individuals visit the doctor a few times a year, so providing that direct connection to mental health help makes the process so much easier. In addition, telehealth or teletherapy creates a more accessible option, especially in the media-driven society we live in today. This was especially useful during the pandemic. The last way to improve is through schools. Schools like Columbia, provide on-campus therapy sessions with a licensed therapist. This aspect of the school is amazing, however, it lacks in numbers and diversity. Providing a resource that is supposed to make all individuals feel safe when it is lacking in diversity is harmful. Columbia is a large school, therefore should accommodate the number of students needing mental health help. These are a few ways to improve mental health care for everyone. 

No one should feel alone. My goal with this writing is to reach those around me that struggle with mental health. With so much change around us, it is valid to feel overwhelmed with how to manage it all. Mindfulness is used in a lot of school “workshops” and activities and may seem redundant, but it truly is so important. Small outside factors can majorly affect your mental health. For example, making your bed in the morning can jump-start a productive day. Similarly, having a clean room or living space will allow your mind to focus on important things rather than the mess around you. These are a few of the many simple ways to improve mental health, but sometimes mental illness takes more than that. Something I am passionate about regarding mental health is de-stigmatizing taking medication. Medication does not and will not make you weak. Coming to terms that you cannot handle it on your own shows more strength than fighting alone. I have been taking medication for my mental illness since I was in sixth grade. At first, I was embarrassed, I did not want anyone to know, however as I got older I realized how okay it is. It is okay to need extra help, especially when it improves your mental health. In addition to this, seeking help through therapy needs to be de-stigmatized. Although therapy does not work for everyone, it is so beneficial even to those not struggling with mental illness. I believe everyone should try therapy at least once. It is comforting to have a set time to have someone listen to you and help you through whatever it may be. There is so much to mental health that not many people talk about and, with this writing, I hope the reader learned something new. I hope the reader will take what they learned and apply it to their day-to-day life. Being more mindful and empathetic to those around them in order to make those around them feel less alone.

This needs to be written about because winter is upon us. As stated in the text Key Concept, “We have to time it by thinking about all the other circumstances.” (KC 82). Speaking from my personal experience, winter is a hard season mentally because of the sun going down sooner and the cold weather making me rather stay inside. I know for a fact that I am not alone in this. My own family struggles a little more and so do my friends. According to the Nami Howard County, due to reduced sunlight, serotonin drops and results in depression. Even from a chemical standpoint, mental health is being affected. I think that in this season is it especially crucial to have accessible and timely therapy care for all.


‘Find a Therapist’ Online Directories

Online Counseling Options:


LGBTQIA+ Specialty Counseling:


Mental Health Emergency Hotline: 988

Emergency Hotline: 911

National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) HelpLine: 1-800-950-NAMI, or text “HELPLINE” to 62640. Both services availablebetween 10 a.m. and 10 p.m. ET, Monday–Friday

National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255); Or, just dial 988

Crisis Text Line: Text REASON to 741741

For even more hotlines and resources:

Suicide Prevention, Awareness, and Support:


Mental Health America 

Spencer, Lindsey. “Breaking the Stigma around ‘Help’.” The Michigan Daily, 8 Apr. 2022, 

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