Student mental health

Help is here at Hays


Painting rocks with positive messages is one of the many ways to cope with stress here on campus.

Caitlin Van Kampen, writer

As students came back for in-person learning at the start of the new school year there were many questions and concerns about student mental health.

According to the CDC, between 2019 and 2020, the average depression and stress levels among young adults jumped from 11% to 41.1%.

Depression is a serious condition that has spread to an epidemic among many people, especially teens. According to CDC statistics, 3.2% of children aged 3-17 years old (approximately 1.9 million) have diagnosed depression. Forty of those teens report school having a giant impact on those feelings.

Kathryn Cude, 12, said, “The quality of my mental health coming back to school went down. I no longer can see my friends every day because of homework, and I have to change my lifestyle and schedule to fit into my school schedule.¨

Friendships can weigh heavily on student mental health. They can tend to feel down or upset because of bullying, inter-friend-group issues, or simply just because they cannot see their friends as often as they wish.

Students also have big worries about not only themselves but others as well.

Ella Davis, 12 said, “My personal worry is overworking myself and worsening my mental health. In the past, I’d throw myself into work to avoid external stresses of my personal life. As for others, I worry about all of the students and how they’re handling the workload. Coming back to school could cause major anxiety for kids. I just hope people can remember to be kind and welcoming to everyone.”

This is a valid point as 7.1% of children aged 3-17 years old (approximately 4.4 million) have diagnosed anxiety, according to the CDC.

On the menu of options available to Hays students is the Zen-Den in room A101. On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays during all lunches counselors allow students to come into this room and relax. You can chill out, listen to music, and paint rocks.

Also every Tuesday at 4:15 there are also teen talk groups where you can do more than relax — you have the chance to express your feelings.

The counselors also have advice on how to promote wellness. To promote wellness it is “a conscious, deliberate process that requires being aware of and making choices for a more satisfying lifestyle” that “includes a self-defined balance of health habits”.

Hopefully, this school year will bring back people’s happiness. It’s a positive message to all students to look out for themselves and seek help — everyone’s story matters.

“Data and Statistics on Children’s Mental Health | CDC.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 15 June 2020,