Air Academy’s Response to Mental Health

Does Air Academy have enough accommodations for mental health?


The Wellness Center located in student services.

It is officially fall, and while many students are excited about the falling leaves, Halloween, and pumpkin spice lattes, a fraction of Air Academy High School is dreading this cold weather. Students with seasonal depression are getting anxious for these upcoming seasons. Seasonal depression is a mental illness brought on by the change of seasons, often due to a lack of sunlight. People with this illness have difficulty getting things done, which is why students at AAHS with seasonal depression worry about school work and grades.

“Mental illness can affect students’ ability to come to school, ability to focus, concentrate, and get work done, so it could have a real impact on their performance,” counselor, Lynda Powell, said.

Schools in general should be offering more help to students with mental health issues. While suffering from mental illnesses, people often have a hard time doing simple tasks and taking care of themselves, which can lead students to have the extra weight of school work and can end up feeling hopeless and alone through it all. AAHS is a very inclusive and caring school, but many students feel that they do not get the help they need.

“Counselors are so hard to talk to,” junior Mikayla Hancock said.

Whether it is because of anxiety or just a feeling of uncomfortableness, talking about mental health issues with a stranger can be a scary thing, but for some students, it is necessary to talk to an adult about what they are experiencing. A concern with many students is that a counselor may tell parents what was said. Although this is a valid worry, counselors do not tell parents what a student said unless they believe that a student is in danger.

“Mental illness is pretty noticeable,” Hancock added on how teachers do not seem to notice students’ mental illness issues despite how prominent they are. 

Students who feel a lack of outreach from adults are less likely to get themselves help and people with seasonal depression often suffer in silence, which can be detrimental to their mental health. The hope is that schools will work harder to offer more help and accommodations to students so that school is not another thing pulling them down. 

“You are not defined by a number or grade in a class,” senior Class President Kaitlyn Vigil said.

Many students feel immense pressure to get good grades in school whether it’s their parents putting pressure on them or their own goals. Students with mental illnesses may not be able to live up to these standards, which can pull them further into a mentally bad place. Vigil feels it is important that students know that their worth is not determined by their grades. Vigil also expressed the importance of school not being a student’s whole life and having out-of-school activities that bring them joy, whether that is sports, clubs, or simply being with friends.

AAHS has many accommodations for students struggling with mental health issues, but students are often still struggling to do well in school. With colder weather coming in, teachers and counselors should keep mental health in mind when dealing with students. Any students struggling with mental illness are encouraged to talk to an adult whether it be a counselor or family member.