Mental Health Week at Father Bressani

By Madison Geddes, Student Writer

Mental health has become an increasing issue among

Canadians, and especially among the high school students. There are a multitude of mental illnesses afflicting this demographic of young people, and the top five most common include:

Anxiety; uneasiness and apprehension, typically with compulsive behavior or panic attacks. Symptoms include shortness of breath and dizziness. It can be caused by anything ranging from too much caffeine, to types of heart abnormalities, to stress from any source in one’s life.

Depression; a common mental illness that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think, and how you act. Symptoms include fatigue, persistent anxiousness or sadness, decreased energy, difficulty concentrating and thoughts of suicide or feeling of hopelessness. Depression is treatable through therapy, prescribed medication, and proper sleep and nutrition.

Suicidal Thoughts and Behaviours; Mental illness involving thought on how to kill oneself which can range from a detailed plan to a fleeting consideration and does not include the final act of killing one self. Symptoms include, self harming behaviour, sleeping difficulty, excessive sadness, etc. Causes and help can be traced back to depression.

Marijuana Induced Psychosis; Delusions or hallucinations that can harm a person while in Psychosis. Marijuana is the most commonly used drug amongst teenagers in the York region. Symptoms include hallucinations, paranoia, and disorganized thinking. The THC(Tetrahydrocannabinol) in marijuana increases the brain processes that lead to psychosis. It interferes with the more important brain functions.

Eating Disorders; Any of a range of psychological disorders characterized by abnormal or disturbed eating habits. There are different types of eating disorders like Anorexia Nervosa, having an obsessive fear of gaining weight, or Binge Eating Disorder, which is when someone loses control over his or her eating. Eating disorders can be treated through therapy and nutritional monitoring.

These are just five of the many mental health issues plaguing the students in our Canadian high schools, but many of those very same students don’t know, or know very little about them. This is why at Father Bressani, we now have Mental Health Week.

With Mrs. Stanevicius at its head, during the month of the two exam weeks–January and June respectively–we have every year for the past three years, Father Bressani’s Mental Health Week is held. It serves to bring awareness to these mental illnesses, as well as help students through the issues they pose.

During the week there are activities like rock painting, bubble wrap popping, or the ever popular therapy dog visit. The activities take place all throughout the school all week and there are posters and announcements and tweets advertising them, but turnout to them usually seems minimal.

“I didn’t know about some of the activities,” said grade 11 student Vanessa Spagnuolo. “The ones I did know about I didn’t go to, because I have been busy and I’m decently confident in my mental health.”

According to Mrs. Stanevicius, the lowest turnout was about 10 students at the journaling activity. However this does not discourage because as she put it, “If there were 10 kids there, then we helped those 10 kids. That’s what we hold those activities for.”

Mental Health Week at Father Bressani comes from the awareness of mental health issues and the desire to help those most in need of them. It would be for everyone’s benefit, if more students were to participate in the relaxing events our school holds in the following years.

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