Cedar Rapids, Iowa (KCRG) – It’s the new school year. The beginning of a new year can bring challenges for students. Starting a new school year, balancing school, extracurricular activities, and social life can all affect a student’s mental health.
According to NAMI, 1 in 6 young people between the ages of 6 and 17 experience a mental health disorder.
According to additional NAMI data, 37,000 Iowans between the ages of 12 and 17 suffer from depression. More than half had received no care in the last year.
Depressed high school students are also twice as likely to drop out as their peers.
NAMI Lynn County Executive Director Mona McQuarrie Witters said younger children may not be able to express their struggles directly.
She said there are some red flags that parents, teachers and coaches should look out for.
We saw some acting behavior. Perhaps they are a little more annoyed. They may complain of stomachaches, headaches, etc. They may even exhibit aggressive behavior at school,” she said.
McCalley-Whitters says there are also warning signs for older students.
“Maybe they are engaging in more risky behaviors. Drinking, promiscuity. Too much or too little sleep. They may even lose interest in their normal activities.” ‘ said McCalley-Whitters.
McCalley-Whitters added a few things you can do to support your mental health, like mindfulness exercises like yoga and writing a gratitude journal.
And of course, if you are going through a mental health crisis, you can always call the 988 helpline to connect you with a mental health professional.
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