“End the Stigma” (Opinion) by Abigail Esther Gutierrez

April 16, 2019.

Mental health is a modern dilemma. 13% of individuals battling with mental health began to experience mental health issues from the age of 14.  Since we start high school at fourteen, it is in our best interest to observe the behaviors our peers reciprocate.

The majority of our adolescent lives is spent at school; 7 hours a day, five days a week, and 10 months a year. Palmetto Ridge should be a place where students should feel comfortable with talking about obstacles in their life. Mental health is not a very broad topic in the city of Naples. Sure, there are organizations and amazing professionals who assist but is it enough? Collier County Public Schools webpage only briefly talks about Mental Health and gives link to organizations here in Naples. Additionally, teachers do not have any broad training in dealing with students who tussle psychological issues. Teachers make up a major part of an adolescent’s life hence the fact that students should feel free to open themselves up to their teachers.

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Since this is an issue here are some solutions that our community should do to decrease arising mental health issues within teenagers. Psychology is considered a form of science therefore; science classes should mandate thorough lessons. Our county does not require teachers to have extensive training on dealing with students with emotional matters. Students have been surrounded by teachers throughout their childhood and adolescence thus instructors should be viewed as respected and trusted figures. The Palmetto Ridge News Crew should announce that Palmetto Ridge has a full time school psychologist and daily motivation. A club should be created that will help conquer constant expressive barriers, a place where one feels free to express their inner demons.

Tis quite saddening that we live in a generation where Mental Health is taboo. No matter how much awareness organizations and social media platforms raise certain people will still continue to be closed minded. Personally, I believe that mankind is quick to open their mouth instead of their eyes. To elaborate, we are completely ignorant in what goes in the life of the people surrounding us. No one knows what certain students may feel or think. Therefore, Palmetto Ridge High School should do their best to prevent students from becoming another suicide statistic. The change begins with us, students of Palmetto Ridge. These four years of high school can shape up us into empathetic human beings. To conclude, it is okay to not feel okay. Life constantly throws obstacles our way and at times we don’t know how to handle them. If Palmetto Ridge is a stigma free zone imagine what kind of chain reaction our bear community can spark.