Screech…Screech… the alarm will not stop screaming, but her body refuses to get up. Her mind whispers lies about everyone hating her and being alone in this cruel world. Mental illness controls her like a prisoner in jail chains, and she wants to be free but knows she cannot save herself.

She is not alone. Every day, students struggle with mental illness that hold them back from doing everyday activities, which some of us do not even think about.

“It is going to look different in each kid. Everyone is an individual, so [mental illness] is going to affect each student differently,” counselor Kristin Little said.

This means that not only is there a possibility of one person having a mental illness, but there are also varying degrees and many different diseases.

“The most common among teens are depression, bipolar, ADHD, anxiety,” counselor Sally Sabata said.

All mental illnesses are different, and they have different effects on how a person can act. Depression, for example, can lead to extreme agitation, short temper, and sadness. However, those are not the only symptoms.

“At social interactions, some people with mental illness will try to escape the situation by leaving or hiding in a corner,” Sabata said.

They do not feel comfortable enough to be with their friends. They fence off others, and fancy being alone.

“It is so different because there are so many out there. It is difficult to describe what a person with a mental illness is going to be like. It is not like a cold when you are with just a runny nose,” Sabata said.

Counselors are now able to recognize that teens are affected by mental illnesses, and people are becoming further aware of them.

“People should be more open. It is a personal choice, but I think people who are open about it are very brave. It is a fantastic service to make an active stand. It is as real as diabetes and blood pressure problems, but mental illnesses has such a negative stigma,” Sabata said.

People with mental illnesses are being made fun of in school and in society. A person normally would not see someone harassing another person over the fact that they have diabetes.

“If one bad thing happens, they just shut down; it takes them to a new low. They feel like nobody understands how it feels to be them,” Sabata said.

Mental illnesses affect one in five people. Those people struggle every day with life.

“They can walk through the halls and [seem] okay and but they feel like they have concrete blocks on their feet,” Sabata said.

When someone has a mental illness, if it is left untreated it can lead to suicide. But, no one can control if someone gets a mental illness or not. Some people put up an act if they have a mental illness and try to act fine.

“It can be completely different for everyone. Just be nice and kind to everyone,” Sabata said.

Everyone has baggage. Someone does not have to be crazy to have a mental illness.

“[They] want to be normal but just can’t. If they are having severe anxiety, at school they are trying to laugh and have fun, but they know they are putting` on an act to get through the day. They feel lonely because they feel like nobody understands,” Sabata said.

Mental illness remains a problem for students, but awareness brings some relief.

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