Mental Health Awareness Month – Students Speak Out

Sahuaro Students Share Advice on How They Cope


Gabriella Jamerson, Foreign Correspondent

May is Mental Health awareness month, so to recognize its importance, I’ve asked a couple of Cougars how they get through tough times in life dealing with mental illness.


“When I was 14 I was diagnosed with generalized anxiety. Two years later I went to see a psychiatrist and was diagnosed with severe depression. It affects my day to day life, it’s harder to wake up and to be productive. many teachers see my excessive tardiness and absences and think I’m just lazy. As a senior taking 5 AP classes it can be extra overwhelming sometimes. In order to cope, I have a routine. It helps me maintain a clear mind and to keep busy. The moment I don’t follow my routine I start to get into a bad mindset. I’ve also cut out a lot of drama from my life, the friends I have are people I’ve been close to since middle school and I know I can trust them. This has eliminated so much drama from my life. My biggest piece of advice to those out there that are struggling with mental illness, diagnosed or not, is to always reach out to someone. You’re never alone, there’s a lot of resources out there for you. There’s free therapy sessions online, therapy groups and always your closest friends. Just remember you’re not alone, there’s millions feeling the same way you do, so try to find some people you can count on to talk about your issues with.” – Damiana Y. Senior



“I deal with my mental illness day by day by keeping a routine as best as I can, having a routine really helps.  I cope with my mental illnesses by keeping myself distracted while also giving myself mental health days in order to cope and not be too hard on myself. I do talk to a therapist about my problems while also reaching out to family. The best advice I can give is that it’s ok to ask for help and try and keep yourself busy and don’t be hard on yourself over something you absolutely can’t control”- Alayna  Senior




“I struggle with depression and anxiety. I’ve had pretty severe anxiety my entire life, which led to the peak of my depression. Anxiety started in 1st grade, when the bullying started. I had these really painful “stomach aches” and want to go home. They were actually really bad panic attacks. At only 6 years old! The bullying subsided in 6th grade, when I transferred schools, except for a few comments here and there. “Too short,” “ugly,” “you’re in gymnastics with the way you look?!” “Kill yourself.” I jokingly agreed with all of those, but they got me thinking that they were true. I told myself I wouldn’t make it to 16 years old. I decided to tell my mom what I had been going through. She understood and got me help, and by the end of the year, I had quit self harm, and was feeling a lot better. I’m proud to say I’ll be 4 years clean this year, and I’ll be turning 16 tomorrow (May 5th). I’m on anxiety medication, which helps a lot, too. I still have my days, but overall I’m ok. My entire point is…it’s difficult, and I don’t even have strong enough words to describe the want to just give up. But if you do, you miss the opportunity to get better. None of us can predict the future. We don’t know what and who we’ll turn out to be. We need to wait. Usually at our age, our problems are temporary. If not, usually they can be solved and faced with dignity. For those looking for a sign to stay here on this earth, this is it. You matter, whether you think it or not. It will get better, whether it’s in the slightest, and whether you think it or not. There are people that understand. There are people that will help. There are people that would be destroyed inside if you were gone. And like this social media audio says, don’t leave until you finish your leftovers in the fridge, or finish your shampoo and conditioner at the same time, and all of those other things. You will make it through.” – Halen C. Sophomore


“I deal with my mental illness day to day by taking medication but also utilizing a bunch of a different strategies for when I have my moments. I cope with it by using a variety of methods one of which is using a calendar. It helps me maintain a schedule and helps me visualize my progression throughout the day. I also make sure to not procrastinate because I often get sidetracked which leads to me stressing out over having not done what I am supposed to do. I also stay busy by hanging with friends and family which are huge support systems in my life. Some advice I would give to others suffering is that it takes time and dedication to see results so don’t feel like you are unable if it feels like it’s taking forever.” – Angel S. Freshman




“A year ago, I was in a really dark place. I didn’t want to go anywhere, didn’t want to talk to my friends, I was sleeping all the time. Today, I’m doing a lot better. There are still rough days, but that is to be expected. Mental illness is a daily battle, but by talking to my friends and taking care of myself, life is bearable. I didn’t want to admit that I had a problem to anyone for a long time. My biggest piece of advice for people struggling with mental illness is: REACH OUT! You are NOT alone. There WILL be better days.” –Ryan M. Junior




“It made things very difficult, it became hard to focus in school and my stress levels became higher than what’s considered healthy. I suffered really bad headaches and began to overall feel physically sick and my performance in school began to decline. Since this was new to me, I had a lot to learn about myself and what I was going through. I learned that I had to either cut out the things causing me the stress or learn how to have some sort of distance with what was out of my control. I found that my greatest relief from this stress was creating any form of art, whether that be painting, playing my bass guitar, or taking photos of my friends on my camera. I learned to take breaks for my health and keep distance from many stressful activities when it was needed.” – Gabey G. Senior


“It comes and goes in phases, some days worse than others. Some days I feel fine and can do normal activities like clean my room or cook myself a meal. Other days I just stay in bed all day and lock my door. I distract myself by enjoying video games or talking to my loved ones, listening to music helps, and talking to people about my feelings rather than avoiding them. I do not seek professional help, but maybe one day I will have the courage. I usually reach out to my sister or boyfriend to seek guidelines to my issues or reassurance. Don’t be afraid to reach out for help and realize that it takes you and only you to help yourself .” – Trinity V. Junior





As the events we’re in at the moment drag on, remember we’ll get through this together. You’re never alone in any of this, there is always someone who loves you and cherishes you. Talk, write, sing, get out those negative feelings to avoid them building up and tearing you down. Seek help from family or friends . Stay connected and stay relaxed. YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline1-800-273-8255                                                                                 National Hopeline Network 1-800-7842433                                                                                                  Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration –  1-800-662-4357