Course educates about importance of mental health

New class provides helpful resources, information to students


Evan Bookout

Students in the new counseling and mental health class give a presentation about the correlation between mental health and head injuries on Tuesday, Feb. 15.

A new class, counseling and mental health, taught by Blair Green was introduced for the 2021-2022 school year. The course lasts for 18 weeks and primarily focuses on teaching students the intricacies of mental health and equipping them to handle it for personal or professional purposes. 

“Our course is going to look into all the different elements of mental health in general, as well as going into the field of mental health, whether it be counseling, therapy, psychology, that kind of thing,” Green said. “We cover everything from understanding the brain as well as disorders, trauma, grieving, stress and of course the tools; the best tools you can use to handle certain situations.”

The course aims to provide guidance and devices for students to utilize when tackling their own mental health. Green also caters the class toward students who may be pursuing a future career in the field. 

“It doesn’t matter who you are, it is relative to every person in every walk of life,” Green said. “For students who are eager to go into this field as a career or just understand themselves better and how to understand the stresses of being a teenager, this is a class for them.”

Some students taking the course hope to learn more about mental health to aid in future career paths that interest them. They hope to take away useful skills that can be employed for any sort of work later in life.

“I was taking criminal investigations, so I thought that kind of correlated with mental health and why people commit crimes,” junior Tasin Houstin said. “[It has] to do with their thought process.”

While the information students take away from the class can be applicable in nearly any field, it is especially useful to students who may be interested in a career specifically focused on mental health.

“I want to do psychology, so this is giving me insight of what I need to be prepared for and what signs I need to look for in my patients so I am able to help them,” senior Jamaya Jacobs said.

Students who may not be preparing for a future career may also seek valuable information on the importance of mental health, as well as techniques and strategies for coping with their own personal struggles.

“We all experience it, so whether you go through a break up here in your high school career, or down the road you go down some traumatic events, understanding, even in a teenage capacity, helps you later on in life,” Green said. “We all deal with it, so it’s something we can’t ignore. It’s best to understand it so you know how to handle it.”

Students undertake projects that dissect and help them further understand specific elements of mental health, such as disorders. These allow them to learn about the specifics of mental health in a much more hands-on manner.

“We did a poster project, and we’ve gone over disorders like bipolar, schizophrenia and other disorders,” Jacobs said. “It’s really interesting.”

On top of providing career and coping skills, the class focuses on curbing common stigmas and misconceptions surrounding mental health. Green emphasizes the importance of unrooting these beliefs.

“[Some common misconceptions are] it’s a weakness, that you can get over it or it’s something you’re just making up,” Green said. “Those are some of the biggest things people just don’t understand. Whether it be depression or a personality disorder, they’re real things, and until society is willing to accept that it’s something we all need to be aware of, we’re going to continue to need to break those myths.”

The class offers all students the opportunity to develop a deeper understanding of mental health, teaches them techniques for dealing with it and prepares them for careers that deal with mental health.

I hope I can teach students how to recognize different elements of mental health as well as give them the tools for their own personal life as well as give them the engagement to want to help others,” Green said.