Local high school students focus on mental health - WGEM.com: Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

Local high school students focus on mental health

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One of the main speakers at the event One of the main speakers at the event
Local organizations held break out sessions for students Local organizations held break out sessions for students
Students were able to play games to relieve stress Students were able to play games to relieve stress
The guidance center at QHS The guidance center at QHS
Students also learned health tips Students also learned health tips
QUINCY, Ill. (WGEM) -

Suicide is the second-leading cause of death for teenagers, according to the CDC. That's why Quincy High School held its 2nd annual Wellness Day on Wednesday to focus on mental health.

Students QHS noticed a need to openly talk about hard issues like suicide, bullying and other issues teens face in high school. That's why they helped organize the wellness day.

"I'm involved in a lot of activities and just homework on top of that too, so you just have to make sure you have time for everything," sophomore Olivia Dohn said.

Sophomore Trinity Fasnacht said it's all about learning how to be true to who they are and limiting the stress of high school.

"Not having you're mindset on a certain thing because that doesn't always happen," Fasnacht said. "My first session of the day was Nu Fit for You, it's your life. It's trying to figure out what you're comfortable with and trying to plan out what your life style should be without stressing yourself out over certain things."

At Quincy High School's Wellness Day, students heard from speakers with over 20 different local organizations to promote positive mental health and address other hard issues students face.

"Talking through just the different points of triggers and stresses and how to positively move away from those and into the fun that life should be," Director of Young Life Curtis Sethaler said.

Stress relief was a popular topic for students, and Sethaler said knowing what causes stress like over committing or procrastination can help stop a downward spiral.

"If they don't know the things that are causing them stress, then they really don't have a way to deal with those because they have no idea where the stress is coming from," Sethaler added.

QHS counselor Dan Buelt said the conversation shouldn't end at the school, but continue at home.

"Students will a lot of times realize that parents know a lot more than they sometimes give their parents credit for," Buelt said. "They can rely on their parents. Parents can have those conversations with they saying hey you can get help from this person or that person."

Students were also able to ask questions about the future and where they would fit after high school is over.

"Whatever you're happy doing is what you should be doing, not just doing something because of how good it looks or how much money you can make out of it," Fasnacht said.

School officials say they're not sure if they will have a conference next year. Administrators will make a decision later.


FOR PARENTS

What to look for:

  • Feeling very sad or withdrawn for more than two weeks
  • Seriously trying to harm or kill himself or herself, or making plans to do so
  • Experiencing sudden overwhelming fear for no reason, sometimes with a racing heart or fast breathing
  • Getting in many fights or wanting to hurt others
  • Showing severe out-of-control behavior that can hurt oneself or others
  • Not eating, throwing up, or using laxatives to make himself or herself lose weight
  • Having intense worries or fears that get in the way of daily activities
  • Experiencing extreme difficulty controlling behavior,  putting himself or herself in physical danger or causing problems in school
  • Using drugs or alcohol repeatedly
  • Having severe mood swings that cause problems in relationships
  • Showing drastic changes in behavior or personality

What to do:

  • Talk to your child's doctor, school nurse, or another health care provider and seek further information about the behaviors or symptoms that worry you
  • Ask your child’s primary care physician if your child needs further evaluation by a specialist with experience in child behavioral problems
  • Ask if your child’s specialist is experienced in treating the problems you are observing
  • Talk to your medical provider about any medication and treatment plans

How to talk about mental health:

  • Can you tell me more about what is happening? How you are feeling?
  • Have you had feelings like this in the past?
  • Sometimes you need to talk to an adult about your feelings. I’m here to listen. How can I help you feel better?
  • Do you feel like you want to talk to someone else about your problem?
  • I’m worried about your safety. Can you tell me if you have thoughts about harming yourself or others? 

When talking about mental health problems with your child you should:

  • Communicate in a straightforward manner
  • Speak at a level that is appropriate to a child or adolescent’s age and development level (preschool children need fewer details than teenagers)
  • Discuss the topic when your child feels safe and comfortable
  • Watch for reactions during the discussion and slow down or back up if your child becomes confused or looks upset
  • Listen openly and let your child tell you about his or her feelings and worries

*INFORMATION FROM MENTALHEALTH.GOV


FOR STUDENTS

Talk to your parents or a trusted adult if you experience any of these things:

  • Can’t eat or sleep
  • Can’t perform daily tasks like going to school
  • Don’t want to hang out with your friends or family
  • Don’t want to do things you usually enjoy
  • Fight a lot with family and friends
  • Feel like you can’t control your emotions and it’s effecting your relationships with your family and friends
  • Have low or no energy
  • Feel hopeless
  • Feel numb or like nothing matters
  • Can’t stop thinking about certain things or memories
  • Feel confused, forgetful, edgy, angry, upset, worried, or scared
  • Want to harm yourself or others
  • Have random aches and pains
  • Smoke, drink, or use drugs
  • Hear voices

Where to get help:

  • You are not alone. Lots of people have been where you are or are there right now. But there are also lots of people who want to help you.
  • If you’re thinking about harming yourself get help immediately. You can call 911 or the National Suicide Prevention Line at 1.800.273.TALK (8255).
  • Another way to get help is by talking to someone you trust. This could be a parent, family member, teacher, school counselor, spiritual leader or another trusted adult, who:
    • Gives good advice when you want and ask for it
    • Respects your need for privacy so you can tell him or her anything
    • Lets you talk freely about your feelings and emotions without judging, teasing, or criticizing
    • Helps you figure out what to do the next time a difficult situation comes up

*INFORMATION FROM MENTALHEALTH.GOV

Click here for more information on teen mental health.

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