Mental health affects different demographics at Bellbrook High School

By: Thomas Dickman and Audrey Cable 

Mental health is a large issue pertaining to most youth in America. But demographics can also play a large role in how people feel. In an attempt to learn more, EagleView News surveyed Bellbrook students to gather data on demographics and mental health at Bellbrook High School. 

This graph shows how different demographics at Bellbrook struggle with mental health.

Demographics in the survey aligned with those highlighted in the CDC report on teen mental health.

Macro-demographically, Bellbrook has a much higher rate of mental health issues than the national average as reported by the CDC (42%), according to the 51 respondents to the survey. 

Certain demographics in our community are much more impacted than others. Some of the much more noticeable ones are the Female as well as the LGBTQ community demographics who reported that they struggled with their mental health. In fact, all of the responses received were above the national rate aside from Indigenous, Mixed, and Male. 

Stereotypes and societal norms play a large role in how people feel they have to perform.

Different demographic pressures, stereotypes, and societal norms affect the mental health of individuals whether it is sexism, racism, or cultural norms.

“As someone who identifies as female, I feel like there are not certain places in this school that are accepting of me, like higher level science classes, or engineering classes,” said senior Eve Jamilkowski who also identifies as white and heterosexual. She went on to talk about how her friends in engineering classes feel like there is sexism among peers, and how they feel uncomfortable to speak up to a teacher about it. 

“I feel pressured by the stereotypes set upon people of my culture because we are pressured to be very smart and it makes me feel like I have to overcompensate,” a sophomore who identifies as bi-racial said.  “I also feel like I have to do really well now because I’m young and what I do currently will affect me for the rest of my life.” 

“As a female I feel I am expected to be organized, and turn in my work, but having ADHD makes it very difficult and makes me feel less than the expectation put on me,” senior Emma DeWeese, who identifies as white and heterosexual, said. 

“I don’t feel any conscious pressure to perform in school a certain way,” senior Jacob Grismer, who identifies as a white, heterosexual male, said.  “Sure, I might feel scared to express myself as much, and feel confined to certain ways to dress but I’m OK with that,” 

Family influences mental health in teens.

An analysis of a study conducted by the PSID (Panel Study of Income Dynamics) found in six waves of studies from 2007 to 2017 that of the people they studied 21.30% had experienced “some type of parental mental health problems in childhood.” The CDC has also found that parental mental health issues have a strong connection with that of their children. 

Grismer said his family, specifically his parents, “have been a positive influence”; but he also stated they have taught him some more harmful habits. One habit is resolving conflict by silence, especially in situations where his parents ask him to be quiet and to put his phone down.

Jamilkowski said her parents try to avoid mental health as a whole.

The trend of avoiding mental health issues in familial relationships is common. “One of the most challenging issues that I have found involves parents who ignore, minimize, or deny their kids’ experience of mental health issues. It is troubling enough as it is when parents deny their own issues, which is in itself problematic,” psychologist Dr. Jyothsna Bhat said.

Many other responses to the survey had the same narrative: parents can be a perceived a negative energy for teens.

“They always have something negative to say about me, my school, my friends, the way I use my time,” a freshman said. “I’ve always had to be positive and it’s getting relentless so now I barely am.” Parents have felt a need to pressure their kids because they most likely have gone through a similar situation.

“I get in a lot of arguments with my dad,” a sophomore who identifies as a white heterosexual male said. “They cause me to fall into deep states of depression at times because of the way he brings up past mistakes in an effort to manipulate me into feeling worse about myself, instead of taking accountability for his actions and [then] blaming it on me.” He went on to mention his parents pressure him academically because of his past academically gifted status. 

Parents aren’t always a negative force in people’s lives. Sophomore Oliver Alban, who identifies as white heterosexual male, said his family has had a positive impact on him. They also support him and his brother, “Whoever [we] turn out to be.”

A white, heterosexual female talked about how her parents were a positive influence on her mental health. “My family deals with challenges in their mental health as well,” she said, “So it’s easier for them to understand my feelings. I’m thankful they understand my emotions and thought process so they can help me succeed in academics and extracurriculars.”

If you have the urge to harm yourself, regularly feel sad or hopeless, are with a person who harms you physically or emotionally, or if you just feel like you need someone to talk to, please call 988, and talk to your parents or an adult whom you trust.


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