CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) – Back to school is here and the start of a new year can bring challenges for students. Starting a new grade level, balancing school, extracurriculars, and social life can take a toll on a student’s mental health.
According to NAMI, one in 6 youth ages six to 17 experience a mental health disorder.
More data from NAMI says 37,000 Iowans ages 12 to 17 have depression. More than half did not receive any care in the past year.
And high school students with depression are twice as likely to drop out of school as their peers.
Mona McCalley-Whitters, executive director for NAMI Linn County, said younger children may not be able to directly express their struggles.
She said there are some red flags that parents, teachers and coaches can watch out for.
“You can see some acting. Maybe they are a little more irritated. They may complain of things like stomachaches or headaches. They may even show some aggressive behavior at school,” she said.
McCalley-Whitters said there are also signs to look out for when it comes to older students, too.
“Perhaps they are engaging in more risky behavior. Drinking, sexual promiscuity. Excessive sleep or lack of sleep. They may even have things like a loss of interest in their normal activities,” McCalley-Whitters.
McCalley-Whitters added some things we can do to support mental health, including mindfulness exercises like yoga or writing in gratitude journals.
And of course, if you are experiencing a mental health crisis, you can always call the 988 helpline which will connect you to a mental health professional.
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