Struggling? It’s OK to Get Help.

Mental Illness is on the Rise in Teens


Corey Neumeier

Junior, Ethan Fox, at the curriculum night advocating the peer counseling program.

     Recently Conifer High School has been addressing mental health issues. Because of the pandemic, depression and anxiety have been on the rise, especially in young people. According to the Colorado Health Access Survey, more than a third of Coloradans over 16 reported symptoms of mental illness due to Covid. The school has realized this is an issue, and right now it is putting up posters and advocating the peer counseling program, but some students think it’s not enough. 

     The school is putting in effort to help this, mental health is a complicated topic, and one that carries a lot of stigma in our society. It is also tough for people struggling with depression or anxiety to open up. A high school environment can often be a negative one, and an environment like that can have a poor impact on mental health.  One resource students have in the school right now is the peer counseling program. Anyone can go to their website, and schedule a session. Though they aren’t licensed psychologists, they are happy to listen if you have any concerns and help to the best of their abilities.

     “Us peer counselors, you can talk to us…it’s a safe place, you can come in, feel better about yourself, and you might get some help,” junior Peer Counselor Blake Wickham said.

     Though the school is limited in what it can do to help, there are resources outside of the school, provided by the government, that students and other teens can access. Recently the state launched the ‘I matter’ program, and the school has put up posters about this program in the halls. This program entitles Colorado residents 18 or younger to 3 free therapy sessions. Anyone that is eligible can go to the website and get the help they need. 

     However, the campaign might not be spreading awareness effectively.

     “I don’t think the people [those struggling with mental health] that need to be reading them [posters] are reading them,” sophomore Asher Phillips said.”

     Despite this, getting help isn’t as difficult as people might think, and it’s more important than ever. You don’t even need to sign up for any session or therapy, you can just reach out and talk, the school’s staff are here to help, not just with academics, but with other problems you might be having in your life.

     “If you need to talk to me, you can tell me, I’d respect it and just tell you my opinion and what I think… If I see [anyone struggling with mental health], I’m definitely going to try to engage with that person, and try to help,” Security Guard Ernest Martinez said.