It’s okay not to be okay.


May 1st marks the first day of Mental Health Awareness month. According to the CDC, More than 1 in 5 US adults live with a mental illness. Over 1 in 5 youth (ages 13-18) either currently or at some point during their life have had a seriously debilitating mental illness. 

For students like me, stressful items in school can include quizzes, tests, projects, socializing, work, AP tests and so much more, and when the stress gets to be too much, it can lead to burnout.

Many students do not even know how to deal with the large amounts of stress that they have when it comes to the homework assigned or the tests or projects that need to be completed. 

The main message that needs to be conveyed during this month is that it’s okay not to be okay. If school stresses you out and leads to feelings of depression, anxiety and more, that’s okay. 

Where does stigma around mental health originate, and furthermore, why is speaking out about how you feel sometimes too much for a person to do? For the longest time, there were many factors that affected the reaction around mental health, whether that’s societal standards, religion, or even family expectations. 

Although we have gotten better at normalizing mental health struggles, there is still stigma around it that exists in many forms. According to a 2017 study by the British Journal of Psychology , only 16.5 percent of individuals with depression worldwide seek the help they need, significantly lower than the amount of people worldwide who actually battle with depression.

The message with 2017 study is that many of us underestimate what we are actually going through, and start to put up with more than we can handle. During Mental Health Awareness Month, it is important to understand that if you believe that your behavior is indicating a mental illness, that it’s OKAY to go and talk to someone. 

As a student at RAHS, I can feel myself getting stressed out by AP classes and the amount of summative work that I need to get done. Although I can feel when I’m starting to burn out, I feel as though I still need to get my homework done, because the workload is not going to stop for me, which might be the case for most students.

But what needs to be realized by many students is that mental health should be the first priority. If not prioritized, mental health can make school and studying for these tests and summative work just harder.

Additionally, during this month, much can be done to attempt to reduce the stigma around mental illnesses and mental health. You can start by educating yourself on any mental health topics you’re not that aware of or educate others on topics you do know of. 

Another way to act on this month is focusing on your own self and offering support to those around you who need it.

Many people, including teenagers, need to understand and emphasize to others that mental health is something not to be taken lightly and to inform others why it is important to take care of your mental health. 

Relaxing through many different outlets can alleviate the stress you feel which can help mental health. But this May should be emphasized as the month that we raise awareness for mental health and eliminate the stigma around it. 

To learn more about mental health, visit To better help support your mental health, visit for more resources.