5 Situations Where School Counselors Can Support Your Mental Health
Up until a decade or two ago, mental illness was considered a taboo subject around the world. Every condition was blanketed under the terms ‘crazy’ or ‘psycho.’ People showing any signs of depression or anxiety were told to “snap out of it” or were labeled as ‘thankless.’ While a lack of empathy may be a contributing factor, the major cause for this was zero awareness about mental health. However, gradually things changed. It became easier to reach the masses and raise your voice for specific causes or against any injustice after the advent of social media. Different accounts and stories were shared across social media platforms that developed a sense of empathy amongst the masses and an understanding of mental health.
However, in recent times there have been some grave developments in regards to mental health. The outbreak of COVID-19 caused a good chunk of the population to suffer from conditions like anxiety (284 million people), depression (264 million people), and substance abuse (150 million people). To make matters worse, stats show that young adults and children were the ones suffering most from these conditions. Thus, a lot of campaigns were initiated to mental health raise awareness amongst students. The focus was mainly on how parents and the educational institutes can work together to ensure that the students can ride out this storm. This is where student counseling came in. Not only did student counseling gain the spotlight, but many trainings were conducted around the world on how to become a student counselor as institutions felt the dire need of having a qualified person onboard to guide students well.
Although it took a pandemic for institutions and parents to realize the need and importance of student counselors and mental health awareness amongst students, the truth is that many situations arise in our lives that can badly affect our mental health. And if young adults do not receive the proper counseling during those tough situations, they can leave a lasting impact. So, if you or anyone around you is stuck in any of these situations stated below, then we would recommend paying a visit to your school counselor.
Living up to expectations
Parental and peer pressure is extremely real. If you feel that you are stuck in this tussle between proving yourself to your parents while pleasing your friends too, just know that you aren’t alone. Parents always want the best for their children, no doubt. But sometimes, their undue expectations get the best of their children. Students are under constant stress to excel in academics and secure a position in the best college to keep their parents happy, all the while trying to maintain their ‘cool’ image amongst their peers. This pressure is known to affect young minds gravely. If you can relate to this, then it’s definitely time to have a meeting with your school counselor, as they will make you see your individuality and help you achieve greatness without letting you crumble under the pressure of living up to others’ expectations.
Attending a new school
The overwhelming feeling of joining a new school can definitely take a toll on your mental health. You miss your old friends, teachers or simply just that feeling of familiarity. Uprooting your entire life and moving to someplace new can breed feelings of alienation. It gets harder to adapt to this change as every school has its own social dynamics, and getting accustomed to it can be overpowering. It is especially very hard for students who are shy or suffer from different inferiority complexes to initiate conversations and get to know others. We want to assure you that your feelings of being lost are valid. So if these feelings are causing you anxiety, consider talking to someone from within the system. In fact, the student counselor at your new school can guide you better about the culture and dynamics, allowing you to ease your way in.
Undergoing personal issues
Is your family going through a financial crunch? Are your parents’ quarrels getting the best of you? Did you recently lose a dear one? A change in family dynamics (e.g., parents’ divorce, single parent working extra shifts to make ends meet, merging of family units, and financial loss) can hinder a student’s performance at school. Not every person is open to discussing the nasty details of their personal lives, even to their closest friends. So, if you feel you have trouble communicating your thoughts and feelings or are unable to make much sense of them, pay a visit to your school counselor. The counselor will try to understand your thoughts on the issue and will guide you, so your education is not much affected as you adapt to this new chapter of life.
Stressing about the future
The unknown can be scary, especially if there are a million possibilities and choices. If not already, you will soon be faced with a dozen pressing questions, including deciding upon your future career, which also means choosing relevant subjects and which colleges to apply to. This may be putting a lot of pressure on you. However, instead of getting overwhelmed or crushed under the weight of all the decisions, you need to make, visit a student counselor. Student counselors have the necessary experience and all the knowledge required to guide you towards suitable career paths. They can guide you through the tiring process of admissions and college applications to ensure your progression towards your ideal career.
Getting frequently bullied
Are you being mistreated at school? Is a classmate picking on you? Is a teacher singling you out? Are you facing some sort of discrimination because of your religion or race? Are you being targeted on social media? If so, then you are a target of bullying. Bullying is real. This aggressive behavior observed by some students is repetitive and depicts an imbalance in power. The aggressor may have some embarrassing information about their victim and may use it to humiliate them; or simply, the aggressor might consider themselves superior to the victim and may want to establish that. Regardless of the reason and how illogical it might be or the nature of bullying, if you are a victim, do not suffer in silence. Instead, reach out to your student counselor and come up with a plan of action to deal with your bullies. You do not have to feel scared of ratting them out. It is precisely this fear in you that your bully is thriving on. Prove them wrong and call them out. You will actually be surprised that beneath all that aggression and false confidence is someone equally afraid and insecure.
It indeed is a scary world out there, especially if you are just at the brink of your adulthood. With so many decisions to make and the constant need to keep everyone happy, you might feel burdened or under immense pressure to prove yourself. So, seek help in whichever way possible to live a better, healthier life. While private therapists may be expensive, you can always consult your school counselor so you can grow into a happy and successful adult. Nothing is more important than YOU! So, stay sane and stay healthy.