It can be easy to find yourself feeling discouraged. Some of your students probably feel this way right now. Feeling discouraged or inadequate is something that everyone, of all ages, feels at some point in life.
Some of your students may not know how to identify and deal with those emotions.
Recently I have been binge watching '13 Reasons Why.' This show has brought to light some issues that are probably all too common in every jr. high and high school.
For those who have not seen the show or a trailer for it ** promise no spoilers here ** this series is told from the perspective of a girl who has committed suicide. Her story is told through tapes that she recorded before taking her own life. On these tapes, you learn of the many struggles she faced at school and outside the classroom.
Being a viewer I felt a variety of emotions.
At points, I felt as though some of the things she was going through were dramatized for entertainment purposes. At other points, I felt empathetic for her.
High school was hard and the difficult part for a teacher is knowing how to identify a problem. Some problems can be obvious and can be addressed. However, emotional or mental problems can be harder to identify and even harder to treat. Not everyone is going to open up to a counselor about all their problems.
"75% of all mental illness cases' begin by the age of 24." (source)
Here are some signs and symptoms from The American Psychiatric Association that you can watch for in your students.
"Withdrawal — Recent social withdrawal and loss of interest in others
Drop in functioning — An unusual drop in functioning, at school, work or social activities, such as quitting sports, failing in school or difficulty performing familiar tasks
Problems thinking — Problems with concentration, memory or logical thought and speech that are hard to explain
Increased sensitivity — Heightened sensitivity to sights, sounds, smells or touch; avoidance of over-stimulating situations
Apathy — Loss of initiative or desire to participate in any activity
Feeling disconnected — A vague feeling of being disconnected from oneself or one’s surroundings; a sense of unreality
Illogical thinking — Unusual or exaggerated beliefs about personal powers to understand meanings or influence events; illogical or “magical” thinking typical of childhood in an adult
Nervousness — Fear or suspiciousness of others or a strong nervous feeling
Unusual behavior – Odd, uncharacteristic, peculiar behavior
Sleep or appetite changes — Dramatic sleep and appetite changes or decline in personal care
Mood changes — Rapid or dramatic shifts in feelings"