LETTER: Prioritize student mental health


In Chatham County Schools, there was a survey in 2017 that recorded 34% of those students feeling “hopeless” almost every day, and 11% of those students attempted to end their lives. As residents of Chatham County, we need to understand the value of students' mental health and possible risk factors if we do not act to create a healthier and stronger environment to learn in.

Mental health has a massive impact on the vast majority of people’s lives and can influence students at a very young age. After the COVID-19 pandemic, it became harder for students to adjust from online learning to in-person learning. Schools have only become a more stressful and unsafe place for students as there is more and more pressure for them to succeed academically or athletically. If more counselors were accessible at schools, it would allow students to open up to a trusted adult about their mental health, which would allow students to feel supported in our district’s schools.

Together, we can strive to reshape our district by gaining the support of our local decision-makers in Chatham County, North Carolina, and partnering with local support groups to employ more counseling at our schools.

Paige Apolito is a sophomore at Woods Charter School.