Students, adults reflect on mental health

Mental health, defined by the CDC, includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act throughout our daily lives. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make healthy choices. Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood.

During the pandemic, mental health concerns increased immensely. Research has proven that in January 2021, 41 percent  of adults reported symptoms of anxiety and/or depressive disorder. Also reported by the World Health Organization, globally, one in seven 10 to 19-year-olds experiences a mental disorder, accounting for 13 percent of the global burden of disease in this age group.

We interviewed a staff and students at Bronx River high school to know what mental health means to them and their personal experience with mental health.

Assistant Principal Tene Kelly shares her views on mental health. (Christiana James)

Tene Kelly, assistant principal:

Q: What does mental health mean to you?

A: Mental Health means having a strong mindset and being in tune with your feelings to make good decisions in your life.

Q: Have you ever had the feeling of social anxiety?

A: I am an outgoing person but felt anxious before, mostly when it came to making a speech or about to do a performance.  

 Q: How did the passing of a relative affect your head space?

 A: Dealing with grief gave me the emotions of sadness, anger, denial and acceptance but I acknowledge that there is comfort in knowing that the person is at peace.

Q: Have you ever felt depressed in school? How long did it take you to get over it? How did you do it?

A: Yes, I have, and some strategies I had was to get advice, have limited time on social media and stay away from anything bad for me like sweets.

Dylan Maloney, a junior at BRHS:

Q: What does mental health mean to you?

A: Mental health means a lot to me because it determines the state of mind and where you are at. 

Q:  Have you ever experienced any social anxiety?

Dylan Maloney shares his insights.

A: Yes, it was in the beginning of my freshman year but I kept it to myself. 

Q: How did the pandemic affect your mental health?

A: It  took me to a dark state of my life but it helped me a lot to become a better person. 

Q: Do feelings of anxiety or discomfort around people bother you? 

A: Yes, I get the feeling of discomfort when I am not in my happy state and someone calls me out to do the sturdy dance

A BRHS junior who asked to remain anonymous:

Q: What does mental health mean to you? 

A: It is a mindset you have as a person and everyone should talk about it more.

Q: How has the  pandemic affected your mental health?

A: It has made me look at things in a bigger perspective such as many people losing their homes. It gave me a reality check.

Q: What event made you feel sad or depressed? If any. 

A: A break up, it hurt and I had to accept it and move on. 

Q: Has a negative comment ever affected your mental health?

A: Yes, someone called me fat and due to that I stopped eating and lost a lot of weight and now I am eating regularly.