Students Take Action To Get Mental Health Resources

By Beth Leipholtz 02/19/19

Students in need of mental health resources formed a group to solve the issue for themselves and their peers.

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a group of students discuss the lack of mental health resources on campus

When a 15-year-old girl in England reached out for mental health assistance and was placed on a waiting list, she and her friends decided to take matters into their own hands. 

According to The Guardian, Molly Robinson had been battling unexplained pain and worry over what was causing it, creating overwhelming feelings of anxiety. It eventually got to the point where she couldn’t even go to school. 

So, Robinson and some friends decided to create a group called We Will, to focus on gaining understanding and support for adolescents struggling with mental health. 

The seven members say aspects, such as the push to do well academically and the pressures of social media, play into their mental health. 

“It’s very different being a teenager now,” Chloe Wilson, 17, tells The Guardian. “Especially parents; they want their child to be fine. They’ll say, ‘Oh, it’s just hormones.’”

Jasmine Dean, 17, adds that she has heard a friend talk about suicide and wonders why the lack of mental health resources is justifiable. “How is being in crisis with a mental health issue any different from being in crisis with a physical issue?” Dean said.

Because the students knew they would need assistance, they reached out to Kate Whitmarsh, who serves as a development worker at Ewanrigg Big Local. Ewanrigg Big Local is community group with “a mandate to grow grassroots initiatives proposed by anyone resident in the area,” according to The Guardian.

Whitmarsh says that in the area, child poverty rates have climbed, public services and work opportunities are limited, and the statistics regarding health are not positive.

“It’s tough growing up here on the western edge of Cumbria,” says Whitmarsh. “This isn’t the affluent Lake District: lots of young people live in rural deprivation.”

Whitmarsh has helped the group in their efforts to create their own video, speak to local businesses about putting out mental health awareness posters, speak to the media, and reach out to leadership in their schools. 

The students also encouraged 80 students and staff members at their school to participate in a mental health first aid class that covered recognizing a person in emotional pain, but also realizing they are not responsible for solving someone else’s problems. 

Going forward, the school plans to offer the same course to governors and parents of students, which could be a significant financial investment according to The Guardian.  

“My argument is: how can we afford not to?” assistant head Steve Milledge tells The Guardian. “Thresholds for Camhs (child and adolescent mental health services) are getting higher. There’s been an increase in the number of children talking about suicide. Without a counsellor, there are children who wouldn’t be able to be in school. A culture of listening and being listened to is really important in people feeling well and healthy.”

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Beth is a Minnesota girl who got sober at age 20. By day she is a website designer, and in her spare time she enjoys writing about recovery at www.lifetobecontinued.com, doing graphic design and spending time with her boyfriend and three dogs. Find Beth on LinkedInInstagram and Twitter.

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