Mental Illness: The Invisible Disease

Mental health should be recognized among the school and students.

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Mental Illness: The Invisible Disease

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In the hallways at Tyrone High School many students are talking, gossiping, and being normal students. But some are set off to the side, walking fast to their next class, or just avoiding contact with their fellow classmates. These students are invisible, and they feel like it too.

A parent getting cancer, a divorce, someone dying in the family, losing a friendship, moving school districts, not getting a job; the dreaded list can go on forever. These events can lead to depression, and many other illnesses.

According to research by the NCCP (National Center for Children in Poverty) 20% of adolescents have a diagnosed mental health disorder, but only a fraction seek help. A quarter of these individuals suffer from depression. In adolescents, suicide is the third most common cause of death.

“Often times, mental illness is a silent illness. What I mean is, you may not even know the person sitting next to you has a mental illness.  People who have a mental illness certainly take it seriously because living with one is a struggle.  Having personally known someone with a mental illness, I can assure you it is no laughing matter,” said health teacher Teresa Myers.

With the second marking period beginning, midterms just around the corner, and the upcoming holiday season, many student’s stress is building to an all time high.

However, many adolescents are not diagnosed and push through each day unaware that their struggles are the result of a mental illness. Untreated mental problems often lead to negative outcomes such as poor school performance, school dropout, strained family relationships, and involvement in the juvenile justice system.

Students need to be aware of these problems, and classmates should be supportive of those who suffer and encourage them to seek help. Mental illnesses are not something that should be joked about.  They should be taken seriously and most importantly, be recognized and treated.

“I have faith that our students are empathetic to students who may have mental health issues.  As with any issue you may have a select few students that lack sympathy but I believe that is the exception to the rule,” said High School Guidance Counselor Tiffany Johannides.

Teachers and counselors should also keep in mind everything that students go through and strategies that many students use to “get by.”  They might put on a fake smile, and push through their classes and finish each marking period with good grades. All this to not be noticed, to not be known, and to never be bothered by their “worried” peers.


A lot of people don’t like to talk about their mental illnesses. It is so a part of a culture to say “kill yourself” or “kill myself” that people with those thoughts then struggle to come out.”

— sophomore Hannah Gampe


Many people falsely assume that admitting that you are not okay is a sign of weakness. When stressed, many people will say that they don’t want to be a bother or nuisance.

“A lot of people don’t like to talk about their mental illnesses. It is so apart of a culture to say ‘kill yourself’ or ‘kill myself’ that people with those thoughts then struggle to come out,” said sophomore Hannah Gampe.

According to Johannides, students should not joke about an issue as serious as suicide.

“Students may not mean anything by it, but someone with depression may be offended or take those comments seriously,” said Johannides.

But people who suffer from mental illness need to know that they are not alone. Yes, many do not understand, but they still can help. Text a friend, talk to your parents or someone you trust, and don’t hesitate to talk to a counselor at school.  The Student Assistant Program (SAP) offers counselors from several agencies to provide mental health and drug an alcohol counseling to our students.  

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