Students Work Toward Mental Health Awareness

By Anna Joy, Reporter

Mental health is a pervading problem for teens everywhere, yet people feel uncomfortable talking about it or getting help.

More specifically, self harm is a very real threat that can affect those in our community. 

To address this issue, school counselor Matthew Shervington suggests regularly talking about your own mental health with your close friends because it is a normal thing to do.

Empathy is a very important quality to have to understand those around you. 

“Awareness starts with empathy. If you get to know your fellow students as more than people you pass in the hallway, but take an understanding of who they are as a person,” said Shervington.

Students get to know each other better and learn about life.
Photograph by Jacob Derkosh

This leads to noticing changes in demeanor so that warning signs of depression or self harm get addressed, Shervington said.

It is always important to remember that someone does care.

When a friend cannot provide enough support, it may be time to turn to a professional. 

Sometimes, people are afraid to reach out, but Shervington compares it to the common cold.

“People should always consider getting help from the outset. If I had a simple cold, I should go to the doctor right away,” said Shervington. “I shouldn’t wait for my cold to get worse because if I treat it as if it is not that big of a deal, I’m less inclined to get better. Mental health is the same.” 

Sam Timlin
Staff and Aevidum members joined together to create a mental health panel on Tuesday, Oct. 8. Photograph by Sam Timlin

Everyone handles situations differently, whether that be a big event in their own life or the death of someone around them.

All forms of grievance are valid – sobbing uncontrollably or not at all, Shervington suggests.

It reveals that life is precious and brings attention to the fact that mental health is a real issue that must be dealt with.

A lot of students tend to joke about suicide or death, not realizing that it can trigger those around them or even lead to thoughts of self harm from saying it so much, Shervington advises.

Recently, a former Susquehannock student, Ryan Pugaczewski, died by suicide.

One of his friends, senior DJ Rohrbaugh, comments on what Pugaczewski meant to him.

“Ryan was a great guy, he helped a lot of people, and he won’t be forgotten, but he will be missed dearly,” said Rohrbaugh.

Pugaczewski will have a memorial service at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 16, at Grace Fellowship Church.

Take your own mental health seriously so you can help others do the same.

National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255