Andy Duffy, the school social worker at Harmony High School in the Osceola County School District, shared his thoughts on expressing our feelings with The Check-In Project Team.
Just like the school nurse helps us with our physical health, the job of a school social worker is to help students who might be having a hard time with how they're feeling. Mental health is important because it affects everything that we do. It affects our relationships, how we perform at school, how we see ourselves, and how we view the future.
Our feelings influence how we think, which influences how we behave.
If we pay attention to how we're feeling in different situations, then it's easier to think about how we might want to fix them or address them. If we ignore our feelings, which is what we're taught to do a lot of times, it's really hard to tackle the problems that bother us the most.
One really healthy way to express your feelings is to talk with somebody that you trust. It can be an adult, somebody your age, or a pet - but give yourself the opportunity to talk openly about what's really going on. It may feel scary the first few times but after we do share our feelings, it feels like a weight has been taken off of our shoulders because we're showing respect to ourselves and what we're going through.
Not every mental health issue or emotional issue requires talking with a professional. However, if you notice that these mental health issues and emotional issues are getting in the way of living your life the way that you want, it's probably time to reach out to a trusted adult such as a mental health professional, parent, doctor, nurse, teacher, or school administrator.
Everyone has bad days sometimes but when those bad days happen many times in a row, it's time to reach out for help.
Take the pledge to check-in at TheCheckInProject.org.