There is No Shame In Seeking Help
What does it mean to seek help?
Students are more likely to seek help from their friends than adults, if they seek help at all. When all of the students are aware of mental health resources available to them, they are also better prepared to help a friend or classmate who may confide in them.
High school students are prone to feeling like they can handle it all on their own, or if help is something that they would consider, they will not get it because of negative beliefs or comments by peers. This is one of the many ways we see evidence of stigma in schools.
Schools must explicitly have a “you can come to me” attitude in order to encourage students to seek help. If your school has a school mental health professional, students need to know who they are, likewise, teachers need to know who to refer their students to. Although it can be difficult to discuss issues with students, following proven strategies such listening non-judgmentally normalizing negative emotions and being compassionate, students can have an opportunity to openly seek help.
Showing Models of Mental Health
Students need to see that there is no shame to seek help by making it an ok thing to do. By showing cultural icons who talk about their challenges and seek help, such as Brandon Marshall, Demi Lovato and Kendrick Lamar, we help young people embrace the idea that it is OK and expected to face mental health challenges. By also having intentional time for mental health awareness, students will see the value being placed on this topic and the attitudes they have about stigma will be addressed.
From: Three Powerful Messages for Promoting Mental Health Awareness in Every School, NAMIBlog, April 10, 2015, by Hakeen Rahim. Hakeem Rahim, EdM, M.A. graduated from Harvard University and from Teacher’s College, Columbia University, start a consulting firm, and become NAMI Queens/Nassau’s Let’s Talk Mental Illness™ (LTMI) presenter, despite his struggles with bipolar disorder. Hakeem has also testified in front of Congress and featured in USA Today. Find out more about him at hakeemrahim.com.