Mental Health Awareness at Notre Dame – What can we do to help?

A lot of teenager’s mental hardships come from struggles about their school curriculum, workload, and atmosphere. What can the Notre Dame community do to make sure everyone knows they’re not alone?


A girl appears to be stressed and struggling with mental health, which we never want to see anyone be in this position. What can we do to prevent feeling like this?

May is National Mental Health Awareness month. The initiative of Mental Health Awareness month is simply to make people aware that millions struggle from living with a mental illness and giving tips and resources on how to support them. Each year during this month, N.A.M.I (National Alliance on Mental Illness) works to fight stigma surrounding the topic, provide support, and educate the population that support those struggling with mental illness. 

As much as we would all like to confidently say that we don’t struggle with our own mental health and wellness or that it isn’t stigmatized anymore, I think we’d be lying. For some reason, some people still think it’s odd to openly and publicly talk about your mental wellbeing, although we are all humans and are capable of experiencing mental struggles. 

School is one of the leading causes of mental illnesses like stress, anxiety, and depression. The copious amounts of homework and study time can cause stress, lower your focusing abilities, and make you feel burnt out. Notre Dame is very good with making sure you have the resources to get help, like x-period to talk about homework or your counselors to talk about your stress. 

However, some students don’t use these resources and leave themselves to suffer with their stress in silence. If you’re one of those people, don’t feel pressured to talk about your mental health, but also don’t be hesitant to use the many helpful resources Notre Dame gives us! 

Mrs. Alameda thinks that we should keep the conversation about mental health going at school. “We need to talk about it at school with the correct facilitator. People need to be attentive during lessons and other student’s sharing opportunities to make sure everyone feels welcomed.” She also had a guest speaker come in to speak to sophomores in regards to mental health! 

If talking to a friend, teacher, or parent about your emotions stresses you out, there are certainly some tips/tricks you can use by yourself to maintain afloat in your own mind. 

The main thing you can do to keep yourself mentally strong is take a break. It may be a tough pill to swallow, especially as finals are closely approaching, but your brain needs a rest! If you’re overworking yourself, whether it be about school, athletics, or your social life, you always need a break just to collect yourself and take a breather. 

Another main tip is to stay hydrated & full! Lack of hydration/nutrition can often make you feel tired and lackluster which will eventually drop your entire mood. It may make your energy falter, making it difficult to focus and think straight. Mental health is very important, but so is personal health and your well being, so make sure you take care of that too. 

A final tip is to do something you’re good at or something that you enjoy.. If you’re straining yourself too hard or just can’t function due to a lack of motivation, doing a hobby of yours will help relieve some extra stress. A couple non-stressing hobbies medical professionals recommend is baking, coloring, painting, and exercising. These activities are a way to take your mind off of things and help ease some pressure off of your mind. 

One of the main emotions that people feel when mental health becomes a conversation is “shame”. People tend to feel ashamed or embarrassed that they’re struggling more in their own thoughts than other people appear to be. Just because you think you’re alone, I promise you you’re not! Human emotions are completely normal and there’s a 100% chance that anyone you know has been through the same thing you’re going through. “Mental health is stigmatized because it’s personal and people think they are the only ones that experience these emotions. Social media makes everyone you look at seem as though their life is perfect, so people are constantly comparing themselves to a filter, not reality,” said Mrs. Alameda.

Even though May is Mental Health Awareness month, we should always be aware and do whatever we can to help every day, month, and year. Remember to take care of your mind and your body, but also be attentive to everyone’s mental health around you and to lend a helping hand or ear when needed.