Sharing – “We cannot struggle alone”: Students learning mental health ‘first aid’ to identify friends in need

This news item from Boston caught my attention because this quote from Katie was true for me.

“It puts friends in harder positions,” said senior Katie Hurley. “But in the end, it’s good for them because we are still kids, and we have to learn that we cannot struggle alone.”

We all need to learn that we cannot struggle alone. I’m grateful that these kids are learning that in high school. Many of us don’t learn it until much, much later. We waste years of our lives struggling alone when it’s not necessary.

Many others never learn it.

That is sadder still. The fact that it happens is a tragedy. One that we could all work toward avoiding, but we haven’t yet.

Another example of the power of this program came from New Jersey, thanks to the Hechinger Report:

Last spring, Jamie Gorman had a panic attack at the mall.

The then-high school sophomore was with a group of friends at Garden State Plaza in Paramus, New Jersey, when she began to feel overwhelmed. Her fingers were tingling. She couldn’t catch her breath. She felt shaky and dizzy.

Her teenage friends sprang into action.

“They were like, ‘Jamie, sit down.’ ‘Jamie, give me your phone — unlock it,’” Gorman recalled in a recent interview at her high school.

“They immediately called my dad so he could talk to me. They found a water bottle for me. They sat with me; they were just there for me.” She said her friends were “very comforting because they were very calm and they were like, okay, we know what to do.”

Again we see how being educated and open about mental health issues creates people who know what to do. We can’t get support from people who don’t know what to do and they don’t learn what to do when society remains unwilling to talk about mental health.

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