Counselors Are Here To Help With Mental Health

What high school counselors want you to know about mental health

Kyla Nelson, Staff Writer

High school counselors are simply here to help. They want what is best for you, and want to see you succeed. Ms. Burk, Mr. Clausen, and Mrs. Hilaski, who are all counselors here at CHS, shared the basics surrounding mental health awareness.

How is mental health different from physical health?

Mr. Clausen said “Mental health represents our social, emotional, and psychological well-being. While separate from physical health in many ways, they are also very linked by nature. Mental health can impact our physical health and vice versa.” 

To provide more context, Ms. Hilaski described it as “ just like physical health, [a] part of who we all are. Yes, everyone.  Sometimes things are great; sometimes life is ‘meh.’  Sometimes things aren’t going well and that’s okay.  Again, just like our physical health, it’s important that we recognize when things aren’t okay.  There are times that things just get better on their own, compared to maybe cold for physical health.  There are other times when we need some help: think of something like a broken arm.  Neither is ‘bad,’ it just is part of life.” 

Why is mental health important? 

Mr. Clausen said it is important because “We all have mental health, and we all need to care for it as much as our physical health.” 

Similarly, Ms. Burk said “Exercising our mental health is the same. It is so important to take care of our thoughts and emotions daily to keep them healthy. For example, we will always see the results of what we put in our bodies. If we eat sugar and junk food, we will gain weight and feel sluggish and unhealthy. Eventually, we may face diabetes, obesity, or heart conditions. If we smoke, we will face breathing issues and possibly lung cancer. If we constantly hear negative messages about ourselves or think negative thoughts, we may have a poor self-image or a negative attitude. If we are surrounded by violence, listen to music or play video games with violent themes, we may lean toward aggressive thoughts or be fearful.”

What are some ways to understand and regulate mental health?

According to Mr. Clausen,“When we have symptoms of a mental health issue, there are things that we can do to respond. However, our health is constantly changing along with our bodies and our circumstances. Someone that is mentally healthy is able to cope with and respond to these changes in our social, emotional, and psychological circumstances. For some, this can be a difficult thing to do, particularly for people who have experienced trauma, and for others, they do not think about it much at all.” 

  Ms. Hilaski concluded by providing some resources for those who are struggling: “We counselors have a national association that we are a part of that helps to guide and educate us on this important topic called The American School Counselor Association, or ASCA.  Our department has goals of working toward being Recognized as ASCA Model Program (RAMP) certified.  We are committed to delivering comprehensive, data-informed school counseling to aid our students in their educational experience by doing whole grade and class presentations, small groups, and individual meetings.” 

Lastly, Ms. Burk said “There are all kinds of research about how color, lighting, music, and sound impact our moods and thought patterns. What we put in our bodies, including our minds and emotions, will have a direct result in some way. If we exercise intentionality in taking care of our mental health, like using mindfulness techniques, meditation, physical exercise, being careful about the messages or self-talk we give ourselves, and even talking to a counselor or therapist on a regular basis are all things we can do to become and stay mentally healthy. But sometimes life just throws too much at us at once and we need more help than self-talk or meditation.

She continued on to explain that “When there is trauma or too much for one to handle, we may need to see a doctor for some medication, or possibly consider a  stay in the hospital for evaluation and stabilization. It is good to recognize when extra support is needed to be safe. Trauma, depression, and other mental health concerns can cause the chemistry in the brain to change, often temporarily, and this needs to be evaluated by doctors. Much like when body chemistry changes, causing heart arrhythmia, kidney stones, or other physical conditions that require going to the hospital as well. It’s all about total health. There should not be a stigma on one over the other.”

 

Counselors are always there to help. If you need someone to talk to, whether about life after high school or mental health, visit Student Services or the website linked above to reach out to your counselor.