Teacher vs. Student Perspective: Mental Health


Mental health is seen in many perspectives amongst all age groups. Teachers and students both have very different points of view on what mental health may look like, and the resources that people struggling may need. 

Socializing for students has become ten times harder with the new restrictions and lack of routine. Counselor Mrs. McKnight and social studies teacher Mrs. Schoellhorn and many students speak up about why they think students are struggling. 

“I am a huge planner, go-getter and goal-oriented person,” Mikayla Greggory (11) said. ¨Not knowing what I need to plan for or a lot of time for unknown situations can be kind of stressful. Again, I know these things are hard for everyone and that these are unpredicted times, but the unknown can cause change and a lot of stress.” 

Some students have detached themselves from reality just to avoid their stress and anxieties; attending classes only physically but not mentally, which is a pattern the staff has caught up on, realizing that it could be a sign of a student trying to hide their own torment. 

¨That to me is an urgent situation, we need to figure out what’s going on, what’s happening outside of school, what kind of support they need,¨ McKnight said. 

A lot of students at Eureka High School do struggle with mental illnesses, almost everyone has something that they are going through. Ethan Favazza (9) cautions students to really take a second look at their supposed ‘happy and positive’ friends. 

“Sometimes when you just see people in public and they look happy, it might actually not be that way,” Favazza said,  “It’s like a mask and people put it on when they wake up in the morning, just saying ‘okay I’m gonna mask my depression’ but then when they get home they isolate themselves and don’t really socialize because they don’t know who they could get help with or talk too.”

Many Eureka teachers also have a deeper and personal understanding of what could be going through the mind of a teenager, because they have gone through some of the same battles. 

“I do struggle with anxiety, I am treated for anxiety, I have no problem with people knowing about it and I think it’s important that students see someone they can look up to and know that it is normal and it’s no different than someone having a regular illness,” Schoellhorn said. 

Eureka teachers and staff are trying to normalize and raise as much awareness for mental illnesses as possible. Showing that it’s normal to not be okay and that you are not alone in your struggles has become the mission for the staff at EHS. 

“I tell my kids that first and foremost it’s okay to not be okay. I’m really big on the fact that they know that this is hard on everyone and I preach about this because if we know that is normal, we are supposed to have anxiety, we are supposed to have stress and that its a normal response but having it constantly it can throw you off and I like to tell them that it’s okay to reach out if they are struggling,” Schoellhorn said. 

What teachers may think is helping students mentally, may not actually be what the students need. Students want someone to be able to depend and rely on, a trusted adult that they can go to at the end of the day that will help them get better and care about them. 

“I feel like they could do a better job because sometimes kids don’t get the help they need, they just don’t know how to come out and say it and I feel like just some survey on google is not going to help, it’s just another way for a kid to mask their depression and anxiety,” Favazza said. 

School has put expectations on my shoulders from the moment I step in, to the moment I leave. Starting in middle school, everything became about getting good grades. A single A in the grade book determines whether you are worth anyone’s time or not,” Madeline Swope (9) said. 

However, some teachers believe that what the students need are more social opportunities and distractions to keep themselves busy. Teachers know and understand that being social is a huge aspect of mental health. 

“I think our school is aware of mental health because we are really the only school district that has gone back to school, we understood that students needed to be in the building, for a student to be successful academically they need to be okay socially as well,” McKnight said. 

It’s important that all Eureka students and staff know that it is completely okay not to be okay. Once everyone realizes that we can all start helping the school become a better and more comfortable place for everyone.