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Five Ways to Manage Your Back-to-School Mental Health

Getting good grades. College and job applications. Extra-curricular activities. The list goes on. High school students face pressure every day to do everything and do it well. Because there is so much going on, mental health and well-being can often be forgotten until it has an impact on the person’s ability to live their life.

Research shows that 22 percent of Americans will have a diagnosable mental illness at some point before they are 18 years old. This means that in a class of 25 students, at least five will experience a mental health challenge. And if not addressed, mental health challenges can have an impact long into a person’s adulthood.

That’s why it’s important to take time for your mental health and well-being now. Use these tips from Mental Health America to manage your mental health as you go back to school this fall.

  1. Address your basic needs.
    Taking care of your basic needs can make all the difference. Eat healthy snacks, stay hydrated, and rest if you need to.
  2. Make time for your hobbies.
    It’s important to make time for your hobbies. Take breaks from your schoolwork and applications to do things that you personally enjoy, like playing a sport or spending time with friends and family.
  3. Practice relaxation exercises.
    If you’re feeling stressed, try a relaxation exercise to calm your mind. A few examples include listening to music, reading a book, going on a walk and doing yoga.
  4. Volunteer for others.
    Research has found that giving back to others can increase a sense of life satisfaction and overall happiness. Volunteer your time with a local organization or your school.
  5. Ask for help.
    Don’t be afraid to ask for help. If you are struggling to handle the pressure of school or work, or just need someone to talk to, reach out to an adult or friend that you trust.

You can also take Mental Health First Aid. teen Mental Health First Aid teaches high school students about common mental health challenges and what they can do to support their own mental health and help their friends who are struggling. tMHFA empowers teens to speak up, take action and get help when it’s needed the most from a trusted adult.

Right now, select high schools across the country have trained students in teen Mental Health First Aid. We’re looking forward to expanding to more schools across the country in the coming years. Learn more about this new program, run by the National Council and supported by Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation.