Many East students, staff taking time for mental well-being


David Salas, Reporter

Morton East High School students and staff share their thoughts on mental health along with things they’re doing to make themselves happy.

According to The Occupational Health & Safety’s Post, It’s no surprise many teachers struggle with some form of mental health problem. In fact, a recent study from the UCL Institute of Education reports that one in every 20 teachers (or about five percent) suffer with a mental illness that has lasted, or is likely to last, more than a year. While for students a Pew survey found that 70 percent of teens say anxiety and depression is a “major problem” among their peers, and an additional 26 percent say it’s a minor problem. There are many things that can cause someone to have a mental illness such as from the person being stressed/worried, genetics, a painful death of a loved one the list can just go on. But to come with that there are many outcomes on someone being depressed or having anxiety such as body aches, to feeling hopeless, and in an extreme case one might choose “the easy way out”. Things people whether it be students or staff have done to make them “happy” and bring up their self-esteem are exercising, going outside for walks, color, play an instrument, going out with friends, to simple things like just listing to music. In a random survey 7 out of 10 Morton East students/staff have been keeping up with their mental well-being.

“I have not really been putting time aside for myself, and I know I should. I try to keep up with the work and questions students send.   I do play Words with Friends on my phone with my sister and cousin from other states every day. I walk my dog every day. I was beginning to do Pilates again until I sprained my ankle. I am better now, but I have not started exercising again yet. I try to read non-school related books and articles (but I need to stay away from politics). I try to watch TV some shows I like. School can definitely be a stressor. For students, they feel pressure doing all of the work that is due, but the reality is there would be much more work if we were actually coming into school. For teachers, I know many are having a difficult time with children at home who are also remote and making it to school at 7:45 every morning, but there are some things the school is doing to try to help, like providing lunches and meals for students and the field house for teachers during our lunches,” English teacher Mrs. Judge said.

Another staff member from Morton had the following to say.

“I have definitely been trying to put time aside to make sure my mental health is doing well. It’s hard and sometimes I don’t have the time, but I do try to make it a priority. Some things that I do to keep myself in a stable mindset is make prioritized lists of everything that needs to get done in one day. That way I know that I’m using my time as efficiently and effectively as possible without making myself unreasonably overwhelmed. I think that school can definitely take part in why some students and staff suffer from depression and anxiety, but I think that there are many other outstanding circumstances that contribute significantly more. In other words, I think that school can sometimes be a trigger for depression and anxiety, but it typically isn’t the root of the issue,” English teacher Ms. Nina Metzger said.

Now, let’s hear some things from the students of Morton East.

“I have been trying to put time aside but sometimes it’s quite difficult. There aren’t enough hours in the day. I’ve been doing a lot of yoga, going on walks, working, and watching TV shows and listening to music. I do think school has a part in such health issues because at the moment we are being asked to try and go as if we weren’t in the circumstances that we are. The truth is things are different and there is not much we can do but try to change how we work so that we can get through schoolwork. Also the lack of human interaction plays a big part. Computer screens aren’t humans and at some point it feels like were doing things and work but there no goal or thing we look forward to since we don’t know what’s next,” senior Flor Quiroz said.

To add to that another student had this to say.

“My mental health is a huge priority for me so I constantly go out for walks, meditate, blast music and dance as if I were the main character in a movie. I’d like to say that school takes a huge part in depression and anxiety because there is so much tension between you and the study which is very unhealthy and the environment changes every year it’s never the same making it harder for some students to accommodate as well,” senior Kiara Siqueiros said.

Has Morton East been putting their mental health before school work? If  7 out of 10 students/staff are keeping up with themselves, then the other 3 are getting caught up in schoolwork — whether it’s a grading test or doing a project.

Please, set some time aside do to something that makes you happy even if it’s just for a couple of minutes.  We need to enjoy our time here.