Therapy. It’s a Necessity
February 18, 2022
In my Mexican household, it has never been quiet. From my sister and my dad arguing, to my mother trying to keep the peace, words seem to go into one ear and spill out the other. After I saw my sister crying because she struggled to keep herself together and make my dad proud, I promised myself never to experience that. But before long, I found myself in the same position.
One way I’ve coped with my anxiety and depression is with the help of therapy. But it’s a challenge to do while also attending school. It would really help if Eastside had a full- time therapist; instead of missing three hours of school life, I would only have to miss 45 minutes.
Even though I don’t owe anyone an explanation, I feel forced to explain when my friends assume that I didn’t come to class because I wanted to ditch class or avoid a quiz. I end up having to catch up on missed class. It would be more efficient if the counseling resources were available at school. It wouldn’t just benefit me — kids have been talking about needing more services and support for years.
Navigating through cultural expectations is challenging. Sometimes when we talk about emotions at home we get shut down because we are being “too vulnerable,” instead of “strong.” If the emotional support doesn’t come from home, we need a professional who can understand.
Usually, schools don’t consider mental health services a basic need like teacher salaries or electricity. It is time to reconsider that assumption.
In an article on the leading education news site, EdSource, Caroline Jones wrote that “wellness centers” could be an answer for soaring mental health needs in California. She cited a stunning statistic from a study by a California state commission overseeing mental health services: The youth suicide rate in California increased 15% between 2009 and 2018, yet none of the 1,034 districts and county offices of education surveyed said they had adequate mental health professionals on staff. The report said that the increase in need for mental health services among young people has increased over the past decade, partly due to social media, rising poverty and natural disasters, and the COVID pandemic.
As someone with depression and anxiety disorders, every day is a challenge of uncertainty. Therapy has helped me find strategies to stay calm in multiple settings. I know I’m not alone, and others would most benefit from the kinds of help that I’ve received.
I believe that Eastside should have a therapist for students throughout the day. It would show that the school prioritizes students’ mental health and would help erase the stigma around seeking that kind of help. And, if students could make the time to see a therapist on campus, it would create as little class disruption as possible.
If you or someone you know needs counseling help, contact:
National Alliance on Mental Illness: 1-800-950-6264
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800-273-TALK(8255)