How does school affect the mental health of CHRS students and staff?

Alpine Brown, Activities Editor

Picture this: You walk into Canyon Ridge High School with the halls crowded, students are rushing to class. Everyone is going along with their day just trying to finish their classes. Each person has their own thoughts running through their heads, but no one knows what others are thinking. People are being challenged emotionally each day at school, but everyone is different. How are the students and teachers of Canyon Ridge High School being mentally affected?

Claryssa Barone, a CRHS senior, explained how she believes school has an impact on mental health, “I think school a hundred percent can affect your mental health. Many people, like myself, will determine their self worth based on how they do in school.”

Barone later stated that school has affected her mental health both positively and negatively, “The stress that adds up from school work after a while can ruin my whole day. On the other hand, school is something I will tend to look forward to because I get to socialize.”

Zander Wood, a CRHS sophomore, gave his opinion on the approach school values mental health, “School, I feel, does not care so much about mental health and more about the attendance or the grades of the students. If the school cared more about mental health, then they would do more than having an assembly for anti-bullying, suicide prevention, etc.”

Wood later explained how he personally feels at school, “While I’m at school, I usually feel drained. The energy from school is usually mentally draining. Seems like school is more of a penitentiary than a high school.”

Dennis Gilbert, a CRHS vice principal, explained how the administration is trying to help with mental and emotional health of those attending this school, “Though student attendance and grades receive much attention, we also place a strong emphasis on keeping our students’ social and emotional well-being a top priority. Anti-bullying and suicide prevention assembly’s are useful, and we implement these in hopes that students benefit from the messages that are provided, but these are only a portion of the efforts made to improve mental health.”

Based on the views of some teachers, mental health is not talked about enough, especially when concerning teachers. 

Stacie Gardner, a speech and debate teacher at CRHS,

explained, “People overlook mental health. There is a constant demand for what feels like there is not enough time to do everything. It affects sleep, self esteem, and the concern for students, knowing they are dealing with more emotions than ever.” 

Gardner described how it feels to be a teacher, “It feels great most of the time. This year is a better year although it is hard every year–hard to juggle life and teaching. I can’t imagine doing anything else. I get to help change and see students’ potential in a world that does not feel safe.”

When asked about what triggers her mental health, while teaching, Ms. Anna Rill, an English teacher at the Ridge, said, “It is kind of a toss up. When I can’t do anything out of my control or when there is fighting. When I feel helpless or when I don’t feel supported by the admin. Watching peers go through finding out a student committed suicide. I care about my students, and it can really get heavy.”

Rill believes that her students care about her mental health. “I don’t hide it, and I tell my students. They don’t act out and can empathize with me. They don’t realize how much they affect a teacher’s mental health. They don’t always understand, but they definitely care. They like it when I am in a good mood. Mental health has an effect on our direct moods.”

Gilbert explains how the school helps  with mental health regarding teachers in relation to students, “We encourage our teachers to develop strong relationships with students and act as mentors. We also provide counseling services and have created a student committee and adult committee to help address mental health within our school.”