What is Mental Health? Mental Health encompasses an individual’s psychological and social well-being, which influences cognition, perception, and behavior. How an individual views and interacts with the world is influenced by their mental health just as much as their physical health, and it is important to invest in your mental well-being. Below are common mental health experiences and links to more information. Everyone experiences emotional highs and lows in their life, such as anxiety before a test or depression after a move/major life event, and there are many strategies for navigating these sometimes overwhelming feelings. Developed by Study.com, this Mental Health Guide for High School Students offers in-depth information in several areas, including:

  • A long list of actionable steps teens can take for mental health (exercise, diet, sleep, sharing feelings).
  • A variety of resources designed to help high school students tackle common mental health issues.
  • Mental health strategies for dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Anxiety: Feelings of apprehension relating to anticipated dangerous, catastrophic, or unfortunate events. Physical symptoms include muscle tension, faster breathing, and a more rapid heartbeat. Anxiety is different from fear in that it is a future-oriented and long-lasting response to a broad threat, while fear is a present-oriented and short-lived response to a specific threat.

ADHD: A behavioral syndrome that is characterized by inattention and impulsivity or hyperactivity.

Depression: A negative state of being that ranges from feelings of sadness or discontentment to feelings of extreme sadness and pessimism. Depression interferes with daily functioning and can cause various physical, cognitive, and social changes such as changes in eating habits, altered sleep patterns, lack of energy or motivation, difficulty with concentration or decision making, withdrawal from social activities.

Insomnia: A sleep condition that involves difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep.

OCD: A disorder characterized by persistent preoccupations or obsessions which prompt the performance of a neutralizing behavior or compulsion.

Panic Attack: A sudden and intense feeling of apprehension and fearfulness without the presence of any actual danger. Panic attack symptoms include heart palpitations, difficulty breathing, chest pain or discomfort, choking or smothering sensations, sweating, and dizziness. Panic attacks can involve fears of going crazy, losing control, or dying. They may occur in the context of anxiety disorders, other mental disorders, or general medical conditions.

If you’re having thoughts of suicide or hurting yourself, please know that these thoughts by themselves aren’t dangerous, but how you respond to them can make all the difference. Support is available. Anyone can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at 800-273-8255 (en español, 1-888-628-9454; TTY, 1-800-799-4889). Press 1 for the Veterans Crisis Line. In Connecticut, call 211 for National Suicide Prevention Lifeline services, or youth or adult mobile crisis

Don’t feel like talking on the phone? Try Lifeline Crisis Chat (www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/chat) or the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME or CT to 741741 or the Veterans Crisis Line by texting 838255.

Are you concerned someone else might be at risk of suicide?
This person is fortunate you are paying attention. Here are four easy steps you can take to help:

Show you care. This looks different depending on who you are and your relationship, but let the person know you have noticed something has changed and that their well-being matters to you. If appropriate, let them tell you how they are feeling and why.

Ask the question. Make sure you both understand whether this problem is about suicide. “Are you thinking about suicide?”

Make the environment safer. Help the person remove dangerous objects and substances from the places they live and spend time.

Get help. This person may know who they want to talk to (a therapist, their guardian, their partner). You can also call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at 800-273-8255 for advice about how to help your loved one and how to get support yourself. Don’t feel like talking on the phone? Try Lifeline Crisis Chat (www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/chat) or the Crisis Text Line by texting CT to 741741.

Additional Resources:

The Trevor Project: The Trevor Project’s mission is to end suicide among LGBTQ young people. At their website, you can reach out to a counselor if you’re struggling, find answers and information, and get the tools you need to help someone else.

The Trans Lifeline: Trans Lifeline is the nation’s only crisis and peer-support hotline, staffed by trans people, for trans people. Trans Lifeline connects trans people to the community support and resources we need to survive and thrive.