Mental Health: Take Advantage of Our Resources


Emily Duong, Contributor

Mental health issues affect everyone and are especially prominent in teenagers. The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services states that approximately 49.5% of adolescents have had a mental health disorder at some point in their lives. With school being the place where teenagers spend the majority of their time, persistent schoolwork stress, peer pressure, and other factors can negatively affect one’s mental health. Everyone will have mental health issues at some point in their lives, so how can you reach out?

Firstly, how do Bob Jones and the Madison City School system provide resources to help teenagers struggling with mental health? Around the school, most of you have seen the QR codes advertising MCS’s mental health resources, whether it be magnets on whiteboards, the slideshows scrolling through the televisions around that school, or codes plastered on questionable places i.e. the magnetic ceiling lights. This webpage has two sections: “Mental Health Resources” and “Mental Health in MCS.” “Mental Health Resources” links to MCS’s monthly family mental health workshops, known as Mental Health Matters. Led by mental health professionals, the purpose of these workshops is to help parents understand how to support the mental health of their child/children in the school setting. The website also includes a vast catalog of local mental health resources in the Huntsville-Madison area, and online resources as well. “The Mental Health in MCS” section gives MCS’s approach to mental health awareness. Their vision states, “The students and stakeholders of Madison City Schools are aware of the importance of mental health and have the needed resources to achieve mental wellness.” They list the many resources available within the school system, including counselors, mental health training, and more. They also provide information, videos, and resources from their Mental Health Matters workshops.

There are also two national crisis hotlines you can text or call whenever you need it, running 24/7. The first is the National Suicide Prevention Hotline, which also scrolls through the school’s televisions. You can call or text 988 for free and confidential emotional support for any mental distress you are currently under. The second is the Crisis Text Line, which gives free, exclusive mental health support and crisis intervention through text from both normal messaging, their website’s chat system, and WhatsApp. Text HOME to 741741 to connect to this hotline. Additionally, MCS has the Text to Protect line for students to confidentially report any school-related concerns, dangers, etc. You can call or text 256-604-2345, or email [email protected].

MCS is also partnered with The Enrichment Center, whose mission is to “walk with students through seasons of struggle, and equip students with tools, support, and confidence to create a brighter future” by providing a school-Based mental health counseling program with full-time therapists for schools. But reaching out for help does not always have to be a mental health counselor. Your school counselor, a teacher you confide in, or other trusted adults outside of school like a parent or guardian can also be a point of contact for you to reach out to.

There are also student-provided peer support organizations that can help one struggling with mental health. Bob Jones’s Mental Health Awareness Relief and Support Club (M.A.R.S) strives to “create a school environment that encourages open discussion of mental health, individual empowerment, use of appropriate mental health resources, and positive coping strategies.” Through informative slideshows, group activities, peer-to-peer wellness discussions, and much more, this club strives to bring mental health awareness to Bob Jones, as well as support those who need it, no matter their background. Besides M.A.R.S., being in any sort of club, sport, or organization can be a way of uplifting yourself in an activity you enjoy. You are around people with a shared interest that you can bond with and open up to.

And besides all provided resources, one of your strongest resources is those around you. Your friends, family, teachers, and others are all people you can go to for advice, support, and comfort if you are going through a rough time. Surround yourself with positive people and influences, make bonds and connections, and be around those who can uplift you and be there for you through whatever you are going through.

Take advantage of your resources and anything provided to you. There is no shame in asking for help or reaching out. Mental health is an important matter, and its issues are something everyone goes through or will go through, so take the initiative and reach out to be mentally healthy.