Interviewing HB Counselors on Mental Health

Trigger warning: This article focuses on subjects that may be triggering to those who have suffered from mental illnesses like depression and anxiety.

DISCLAIMER: This is the second of a series of articles regarding mental health. This issue focuses on coping skills on mental illnesses and stress from Mrs. Biggar and Mrs. Lurie. We recognize that stress and a mental illness are not the same thing, and we are not trying to group them together in this article! If you have any tips, concerns, or topics for future issues, please contact us at rbrady20@hb.edu or ssangani20@hb.edu. We hope that our series helps you learn more about mental health!

 

What advice do you have for someone dealing with mental illness or stress?

MRS BIGGAR:

Mental illness is broad term. There’s a lot of different challenges that individuals can face – anxiety, depression, anger issues, – first identify exactly what you are feeling and what is triggering those feelings. To identify the feeling, reflect on your thoughts, how your body feels and what happened to make me feel that way. Identify the specific event and the feeling and some strategies that you can try to use to make you feel better. Sometimes, you have to try several different coping skills to figure out what works best for you.

Example: For anxiety the following tips may be helpful: meditation/yoga, deep breathing, drink of water, grounding exercises (identifying the 5 senses around you – what do you see, small, hear, touch, and feel), talking to a friend or adult, journaling about your feelings, distracting yourself, art or any creative activity, physical exercise, getting outside.

MRS. LURIE:

It’s definitely important to find ways to reduce stress, using things like mindfulness techniques, exercise, and finding a talking person (a trusted adult to help you manage your levels of stress).

 

What are good ways to relieve stress?

MRS. BIGGAR:

It is important to practice self-care to relieve stress. For each individual, self-care and stress reduction can look very different. Some suggestions are:

  • Physical exercise/get moving – this releases endorphins and serotonin in your brain to decrease your stress
  • Take a nap/get a good night of sleep
  • Deep breathing – take 5 deep breaths – try this: lay/sit down and put your hands on your belly. Take a deep breath in and feel your belly expand like a balloon and then exhale slowly through your nose or mouth.
  • “Me time” – ideas include: watching your favorite TV show, reading a book, going shopping, or hanging out with friends.
  • Go outside for a walk or just sit in the sunshine

MRS. LURIE:

Good ways to relieve stress are talking to someone, exercising, and practicing mindfulness techniques.

 

How can you tell the difference between sadness/stress and depression?

MRS. BIGGAR:

It is normal to feel sad, mad, anxious, and stressed sometimes. These are our normal emotions and feelings in reaction to a specific event or situation. For example, it is perfectly normal to feel sad if you are in a fight with your best friend. However, depression is when you feel sad about everything and it is pervasive many days in a row and throughout different aspects of your life. Here are a few signs of depression:

  • Withdrawal from friends/family and isolation
  • Sleep issues (either insomnia or hypersomnia) on a daily basis
  • Fatigue
  • Feeling hopeless or worthless
  • Lack of interest in things you normally enjoy
  • Recurring suicidal thoughts and ideations

MRS. LURIE:

It’s important to figure out if your stress/sadness/anxiety is repeating itself constantly – the difference between situational and something that’s sitting with you all of the time. If you can work your way through it, then it’s situational.

 

How do you talk to a friend about their mental illnesses?

MRS. BIGGAR:

If you have a friend who has a mental illness, it is important to be supportive and an active listener. You are there to listen; however, you should not be their therapist. It is important to encourage your friend to seek help from a trusted adult such as their parent, a teacher, the school counselor or an outside therapist so that they are able to receive the support and resources they need to live a healthy life.

MRS. LURIE:

It’s important to encourage a friend to find a trusted adult because they know better how to handle situations like that. A good friend needs to find a professional or someone that it better equipped to deal with that.

 

What resources are there at HB for people who are struggling with mental health or stress?

MRS. BIGGAR:

If you are struggling with stress or mental health challenges, there are many adults at HB to support you. It is important that you can identify at least one trusted adult at HB. It could be your mentor, a teacher, an athletic coach, the School Counselors (Mrs. Biggar or Ms. Lurie), your class dean, etc. Whoever that person is, find a time to talk to them about what you are struggling with and they can help you get support and problem solve.

MRS. LURIE:

Our counseling team and trusted adults. Please reach out to a member of our counseling team for help

 

If you or someone you know is suffering from mental illness or suicidal ideation and needs help, call one of hotlines below or reach out to a trusted adult:

216-623-6888: ADAMHS suicide crisis hotline

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – Suicide prevention telephone hotline funded by the U.S. government. Provides free, 24-hour assistance. 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

National Hopeline Network – Toll-free telephone number offering 24-hour suicide crisis support. 1-800-SUICIDE (784-2433). (National Hopeline Network)

The Trevor Project – Crisis intervention and suicide prevention services for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) youth. Includes a 24/7 hotline: 1-866-488-7386.

SAMHSA’s National Helpline – Free, confidential 24/7 helpline information service for substance abuse and mental health treatment referral. 1-800-662-HELP (4357). (SAHMSA)