Hanson Suggests Mental Health Day


Senior, Serena Hanson, taking time to have a mental health break by enjoying the sunshine and outdoors. (photo courtesy of Serena Hanson)

How I respond to and view things and what I filter in and out of my brain both relate to my mental health.  Mental health is very different from physical health and, I would argue, far more important. Society has emphasized physical health and the importance of caring for our bodies through diet and exercise, but has failed to address mental health.

“Mental health is different for everybody; it is primarily just being aware of yourself, having a strong sense of self and doing your actions consciously and having a grip on your own reality. Mental health is more focused on shaping who you are as a person, physical health is more shaping on what people see,” senior Serena Hanson said.

When I begin to avoid caring for my mental health, I am avoiding emotions that when left unaddressed, can build up and become unmanageable.  I believe this is what causes teenagers to be diagnosed with depression, anxiety, and other mental illnesses. Addressing mental health takes time and effort, something that teenagers also lack in today’s society.  With school and extracurricular activities, it is hard to find time or energy to truly focus on mental health. Students cannot ignore when we feel down or mentally drained. These feelings and emotions should be acknowledged.

“It is the most important thing. Without mental health you cannot have health in any other aspect in your life. Mental health should be you top priority,” Serena said. “I think a lot of people have construed mental health to be something you have to tackle, but really it can something as small as waking up early to let yourself breathe in the morning.”

A solution to help prevent students from overshadowing the importance of mental health would be giving students one mental health day per quarter, allowing students to have the opportunity to choose when and how they spend this day. This can help students become more aware of their mental health and may look different for everyone. Some may spend the day getting extra rest or participating in their favorite hobby, while others may choose to take a hike.  Giving the students the freedom to choose when they need this day might prevent it from being abused and not utilized.

“A lot of people have a misconception of mental health,” Serena said. “Everybody has their own standard of mental health, and caring about your mind is not a weakness.”

Consciously working towards a better mental state requires time and energy, and giving students a mental health day would improve how society views mental health as a whole.  It shouldn’t be seen as a disease or weakness, but rather what makes each person unique and individual. Our minds are so powerful, so we should be allotted time to mend them.