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Bearcathletes
Bearcathletes
May 28, 2024
HER OWN PROCEDURE
HER OWN PROCEDURE
May 27, 2024

Stigmatized STRESS at PRHS

Stigmatized+STRESS+at+PRHS

STIGMATIZED STRESS AT PRHS

As the semester continues, many students have voiced concerns on Mental Health, the measures the school have put in place, and what they are doing to help

Amidst the change of seasons the seemingly never ending workload from teachers has impacted Bearcats from freshman to senior. College apps, mid terms, and early onset burn out are just a few examples of what students have begun to face as the end of the year comes closer. 

The unknown of the upcoming future brings upon the biggest problem facing PRHS campus: that of stigmatized stress.

Stress has gotten back into the atmosphere on campus, and as journalists we too are struggling with balancing life and school. Finding outlets in order to walk around campus is something that still exists, seen in your own creative ways such as exercise, sleeping, and talking with someone as well as through the new wellness center on campus. 

The courage to speak up about struggles with mental health is another issue that has started to steep back into campus culture. We would like to restate that you are not alone and if the need becomes too much to bear, talk. Counselors, teachers, coaches, and friends could make the difference needed in a time where your mental health may be struggling. Do what makes you happy for it could be the best thing for you, even if it is only short term. 

Excessive amounts of homework and not enough hours in the week, may also contribute to your stress but you are not alone, many students and teachers believe that is what has started many of the struggles of not being able to get appropriate amounts of rest: mentally and physically. As journalists we have seen the struggle and the fight to try. To try in a time where the days get darker and colder, and the mind can no longer hold on to school, work, or extracurriculars. 

We implore you to take the time you need. To take your mental health just as seriously as your physical health because it is just as important to your actions. Stress is not just bad though, good stress does exist setting goals and deadlines for yourself create this stress for yourself that does not surround yourself in negativity. 

Make it about what you want to do in life, not what you have to do, create an environment that is mentally replenishing. We do not claim that PRHS is perfect for we know we are all human but the measures that are being taken seem to be just the start of creating better mental health across campus.  

We ask you as the year continues to remember that high school does not define you not, that grades are not everything, and that life is short.

BOUND TO BURNOUT

 PRHS Students and Teachers explain their thoughts on burnout and it can be overcome

BY MARGOT KLO, Op/Ed editor

The pressure of being in the most intense and rigorous classes available can become a strain on a student’s mental health/wellbeing, especially throughout a student’s high school years. According to 61% of teens surveyed by the Pew Research Center rigorous courses can be a big stresser on students’ mental health.  

Burnout is more than just a word to describe stress; it is the accumulation of stress over a long period of time that eventually becomes too much for students to handle. 

“Burnout would be when people get so much on their plate that they lose enthusiasm and energy to keep them going,” Amani Arellano, a senior at PRHS said. 

 

“They can juggle for a while, but at some point it just comes crashing down. And they either get sick, or they get super stressed and unhappy. Or they start yelling at their teachers and their friends,” Geoffrey Land, a senior AP teacher, said. 

 

Both Land and Arellano are correct in their descriptions of the symptoms of burnout: according to the Mayo Clinic, the symptoms of burnout include exhaustion, irritability, insomnia, and vulnerability to illness. 

 

Suffocating Hands: a drawing depicting how students feel trapped by everything affecting their lives.

“I want to do well. So I’m going to say yes to everything that I get to do and then you find yourself not doing as well as you want and being mediocre and then being stressed out,” Land said ”, mimicking the mentality of an AP student.”

GEOFFREY LAND​

When students start to lose their motivation and have one to many tasks to accomplish in a day they start to experience the symptoms of burnout. 

Burnout is seen most in the students that are a part of everything including but not limited to, sports, Advanced Placement courses, and being a leader in a club according to Land. 

“The highest burnout levels are the ones who take on the most,” Land said. 

According to the American Psychological Association, burnout is a syndrome that can be caused by becoming overworked and stressed and AP students at PRHS appear to be just that: overworked and stressed. 

In a 2009 study done on stress by the American Psychological Association 45 percent of teens ages 13-17 were stressed by school related pressures. Further, proving Land’s point that burnout is seen in student’s that are a part of everything. 

From freshman to senior year stress levels change as students start to add additional activities to their schedule. “The older I’ve gotten, the more I’ve been involved in. So it’s definitely gotten more stressful over time. But I would say that I still haven’t burned out, which is nice because yeah, I’m only gonna get busier with college and stuff, so things are piling up as I get older, but I’m still enjoying it all,” Arellano said, though otherwise she claims that her burnout comes from homework. 

Students not being able to say no to people or events starts to lead them on a path of having too many obligations to fit into their week especially when it comes to students looking to attend and impress colleges. For some of these high achieving students doing well is just a part of a much larger checklist, one that will help prepare them for the years to come.

The academic pressure of having a lot of homework especially when given on the weekends can lead to student’s feeling burnt out according to freshman and AP teacher Haley Talbert.

“The thing that bothers me is if teachers are giving students homework over the weekend, intentionally like, that’s a time to rest when they’re not in school. They don’t finish it during class. That’s one thing but don’t assign a new assignment on Friday at 3:29,” Talbert said.  

In a study done by NYU, grades, homework, and the preparation for college were big stressors for high school students. Homework is definitely a source of burnout among PRHS students especially when they have other activities outside of school. 

“Especially when I go from teaching kids Sign Language straight to a rehearsal and home to do homework until two in the morning,” Arellano said. “Homework is definitely a source for my burnout.” An article published in 2014 by the Stanford Medicine of Children’s Health indicates that having an excessive amount of homework can lead to health problems including stress, headaches, exhaustion, sleep deprivation, weight loss, and stomach problems. There’s been a recent movement among teachers championing the idea that weekend homework is excessive.   

“I think that’s not fair,” Talbert said, “It’s a time for them to rest with their families and friends and come back hopefully refreshed.” 

 

Even without having AP classes, freshmen become burnt out when they start to have an overabundance of missing assignments. “So with freshmen, particularly I feel like the burnout happens when they get really behind on their assignments and they find themselves in a hole where they have so many missing assignments, they feel like they’re never going to get out of that hole,” Talbert said. 

 

Additionally, burnout is also seen in students that are struggling financially and have to take care of their younger siblings.

“Burnout is students who have low income homes, who are college bound and (have) responsibilities for their younger siblings or the extra job or helping pay the rent for their family,” Land said. Though this may not be seen as frequently at PRHS according to Land it is still an important group of people facing the effects of burnout. 

Pushing back against burnout is possible, however; according to Arellano, students can combat burnout by being a part of activities that they have a great passion for and truly want to be a part of. 

“The fact that everything I’m involved in I genuinely love and have a passion for (keeps me going),” Arellano said.  

In addition to Arellano’s statement, PRHS sophomore Divyana Emmons believes that being organized and not always getting perfect grades is crucial to not succumbing to the symptoms of burnout. “I think organization, and having set times that you do these different things and also being okay with not getting a good grade every once in a while is really important because honestly in the long run if you don’t get a good grade every once in a while, it’s not really gonna affect your grade that much,” Emmons said. 

Both Land and Talbert agree that the new Wellness Center at PRHS is a great resource for students struggling with the symptoms of burnout. 

“I have several students that go there regularly, and I know that it really helps. So the students that know and take initiative to go there could definitely be helped,” Land said. 

Talbert agreed, mentioning that she is “really happy about the Wellness Center” and thinks that it’s really cool. 

Teachers can help students with burnout through allowing flexibility with deadlines especially for students that are involved in extracurricular activities Emmons claims. “It really helps when teachers are flexible when they know that you have extracurriculars and they’re flexible on  deadlines,” Emmons said. 

Teachers can also help students with burnout through creating a learning environment that allows students to feel comfortable, safe, and not feel stressed. 

I think that teachers definitely have a role in creating more humane classroom environments, in being more human themselves in allowing students to bring their whole selves to the class and not just their science self or their English self, like their whole self and to recognize that whole self and to realize that in order to learn that particular subject, you also have to be safe and comfortable and, and not feel stressed out

Land

A DECADE OF DECLINE

Mental health in the United States and how PRHS fairs against the narrative

BY Elise Mathers, News Director

Adolescence is a crucial time in life for the development of skills necessary for strengthened mental well-being. Increases in risk factor exposure are causing an already increasing amount of mental health concerns to continue to climb, especially in youth. 

 

Mental health concerns in the United States have been increasing consistently throughout the years, and have been accelerated greatly in the last few years alone. Annually, the CDC conducts a Youth Risk Behavior Survey that aims to monitor health risk behaviors in high school students between six different categories. Between 2009 and 2019, there was a 10% increase of students who expressed persistent feelings of sadness and/or hopelessness. Data published by the CDC in late Mar. 2022 expresses that in 2021, 44% of students reported the persistent sadness and hopelessness, having increased 8% from the 2019 study. 

 

The mental health of PRHS students is showing decline as well. In a PRHS survey students were asked to rank their stress during the current school year on a scale from 1-5. Of those, 40% ranked their stress levels at a 5 and an additional 33% ranked their stress levels at a 4. 


Students experiencing extreme stress shared a wide range of mechanisms they used to handle their stress. The most popular of those were sleeping and exercise. The CDC recommends coping mechanisms related to both mental and physical health as a means to combat stress. For teens, the CDC describes the best ways to handle stress and anxiety as: talking and staying connected to others, self care, and taking breaks from news sources and all things internet.

THE WELLNESS CENTER: WILL BE WELL IN OUR FUTURE

The main message the wellness center is trying to send to Bearcats on campus, as well as the hopes for the future

BY Kayley Mills, Reporter

The Wellness Center is here to provide overburdened students with new ways to execute better self care and the usage of therapeutic remedies like zen gardens that offer inundated students a vast array of ways to practice healthy coping mechanisms. The new PRHS Wellness Center is here for all Bearcats to use as a place to release inconvenient and troublesome feelings when experiencing burnout, burdens from home, academics, and peer related stressors.

The Center provides a breath of fresh air for overwhelmed students, a calming atmosphere for all on campus to feel welcome and supported by staff and Peer mentors. Peer mentors are students who can meet with other Bearcats to provide a listening ear. Sometimes it is difficult for students to talk to a counselor about personal issues, a peer mentor provides students with the opportunity to talk to another student that is also a mandated reporter.

A study surveying teens in real time throughout their day, from Australia’s Murdoch and Griffin Universities found that when something bad occurs many students cope better when they are with their peers rather than adults. If hesitant to address personal issues with a peer or counselor, students are greeted with an inviting space with many comforting aspects. From soft Lighting, comfortable couches and bean bag chairs, sensory activities like pop-its and other tactile fidgeting toys, even a miniature zen garden. The Center offers overwhelmed students a very vast selection of coping mechanisms, there is something for every Bearcat in the Wellness Center.

Kaila Jones, Senior and club president of the B lunch had the same thoughts as King, and agreed with her explanation of the wellness center. Students should be able to find an area on campus to de-stress from their everyday lives, and the Wellness center gives them the opportunity to do so.

 The Wellness Center offers a  place they can walk into and immediately feel relaxed. They are free to do their own thing to de-stress in many different ways.

The Wellness center advisor and counselor, Nancy Philips claims it was a conscientious decision made by the five  PRHS counselors, and counselor trainees such as former Bearcat Cassidy Moses.

“I believe that it will be useful for students to get a break from reality, and will provide a calming space for anyone in need of one,” Carolyn King, Senior A lunch Club president, said she wants nothing more than, ”to help the students at school, and to provide hem with a non-stressful environment”.

Carolyn King, 12

Moses finds herself reflecting on the time when she herself attended PRHS. “When I was a student here, no one talked about mental health. It wasn’t something that anyone focused on, which made people uncomfortable to share. We’ve now created a space more welcoming, much more accepting,”  Moses said. 

 

Philips has been a part of wellness centers in other districts such as the William S. Hart High School district, and has realized the importance of having a place for support. Philips stated the importance is for us as a culture: “We want to have people come together and be understanding that everyone goes through mental health struggles and issues of their own,” Phillips says, to the importance of it as a culture. 

 

When students are finding themselves anxious or overwhelmed, which are the two most common reasons for students to come into the Wellness Center, according to Philips.

 They are welcome to enter the wellness center to take a 15 minute break, to talk to a peer mentor or a licensed counselor such as Philips herself, even a grade counselor. It offers a space that is meant to take preventative actions for students feeling anxiety or stress, as well as other negative emotions. When being effectively used by students, Bearcats are given incentive tools and social support to help them adopt and maintain healthy behaviors. And lifestyles When stress or anxiety gets out of hand students find their performance lacks in more than one aspect of their lives. 

The American Psychological Association reports that 40% of students say they are irritable due to stress, and 30% say they feel sad or depressed because of the amount of stress they have in their lives. 

Adults and young participants often grapple with the stigma of attending the Wellness Center. If they go, is there something wrong with them?

To fight this stigma, Philips states they will be “including more activities that reach more students”, and that they are “trying to have a wide variety of activities for students to go and do. All Bearcats should know if you walk through that door, nothing is wrong with you or your mental health”, she says. The counselors and advisors of the Wellness Center hope that students can find something that works for them like yoga, as it is something that they can take with them forever and have as a skill or a lesson they have learned. Breath work, yoga, meditation, and therapy dogs appear often in the Wellness Center.

The wide variety of activities should motivate students to go into the wellness center where they can de-stress through these interactive activities. These activities can provide Bearcats with better coping skills for any problem they face during, and after highschool.

Images/Graphics by: Michelle Rosas, Kayla Degnan, and Isa Rendon 

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About the Contributors
Kayla Degnan
Kayla Degnan, Sports Co-Director

Senior Kayla Degnan is in her third year of Crimson, being Sports Co-director. She hopes to grow her knowledge in sports while also giving athletes the appreciation that they have earned. Outside of Crimson she enjoys reading, writing, watching dance moms, and learning ASL. She is varsity cheer captain this year and participates in the varsity stunt team. She cannot wait for her final year of Crimson. Go Bearcats!

Margot Klo
Margot Klo, News Co-Director

Margot Klo is a junior and is in her second year of Crimson as the co-News Director. She is excited to continue to write on important topics and make a big impact on the school this year. She is also a part of the Paso High Theatre Company as one of the Assistant Stage Managers. Outside of school, she enjoys reading, drawing, and spending time with her four cats.

Elise Mathers
Elise Mathers, Editor-in-Chief

Elise Mathers is in her third and final year as a Crimson staff member and is the new Editor-in-Chief this year. Previously she was involved in the News section, and continues now as Co-News Director, hoping to pursue newswriting in the future. She looks forward to expanding her leadership and a great senior crimson year.

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