Student Corner: Mental Health with Marlize Velasco

student wearing mask next to sign

Trigger Warning

This writing will address self-harm. I wanted to interview someone who was willing to talk about their mental health struggles and experience of having self harm thoughts. The person I interviewed wants to remain anonymous.

The first question I asked was “Did you feel like your school provided resources for you to prevent/take care of your mental health” they responded “ I only went to school two times a week. They realized I needed help when my grades were going down. They just said, “do you need to talk to a therapist”? Hearing them say this makes me believe that the education system needs to do better. This person could have had the best grades and still be very depressed however, in the eyes of others they are “fine” since, when did grades solidify one’s mental state of mind? It’s even harder for teachers to see how students are doing due to this pandemic which has been detrimental to our mental health. When asked “has COVID impacted your mental health” they responded “ I had to stop working which made me more depressed. Going to work was my outlet”.

For as much as I like to think that Santa Cruz has many community resources and opportunities for locals hearing this response made me believe community resources need to be more available. If there were more clubs or more hobbies for teens to pick up this person maybe would have had an outlet. An outlet where issues can be talked about. Issues that factored into suicidal thoughts like: “feeling like no one cared”, “dealing with a sexist dad”, “losing a friend” all of these are experiences that need to be dealt with in a healthy manner. Trying to overdose is not the way to deal with these experiences.

Now this person is in a better state of mind they stated “days will get better their will bumps in the road but their will be better days” when asked “what would you tell a kid who is struggling with their mental health right now.” This was the same person who believed there was no hope.

To you, the readers, I would want to end this reading with the message that we need to do better. Better at creating a safe space for teens, better at addressing these topics and talking about it when we feel ready. Ready, so that others can feel united in a blurry battle that seems hopeless at times.

This summer, Santa Cruz Works will host Kathryn Goetzke, Chief Mood Officer of The Mood Factory. The Mood Factory has helped millions of young people find hope and happiness in their journeys. Learn more about her programs at Hopeful Minds.