Mental Health Matters

These five tips from Shannon Jares are very likely to help you relieve stress and be happy!

Photo by: Infographic by Zoey Jares

These five tips from Shannon Jares are very likely to help you relieve stress and be happy!

By: Zoey Jares, Staff Reporter/Advice/Sports


     The Coronavirus pandemic has created a mental health crisis for our generation. Going through such a major change in a distressing time can have significant, long-lasting impacts. Luckily, we are at the beginning of a new era of acceptance. Before now, mental health was downplayed and ignored. Due to that former stigma around mental health, many people may be uninformed on the topic and don’t know how to manage their health. Dealing with your health and coping with stress is hard but it is something anyone can and should do. 


     Your mental and physical health are of equal importance, however, most teens have many potentially harmful habits affecting their mental health. In a face-to-face interview with Shannon Jares (Family-Nurse Practitioner), she said that social media is one of the biggest contenders for our attention. Shannon Jares is a trained professional who works at Meridian Advanced Psychiatry where she sees mental health patients every day and helps them manage their conditions. Jares said, “It has allowed for bullying to become normalized, and now unrealistic body image and social expectations are pushed upon younger generations.” This doesn’t mean you need to delete all social media for improvement, you just need to minimize the amount of social media you have and set timers for yourself when you are on your phone. Our phones are considered helpful tools but unfortunately, they can also have a harmful effect on your well-being. Jares also said, “Being on your phone gives you a dopamine rush which encourages you to continue looking at it and that becomes a problem because teens don’t have the self-control at this age to put it down.” However, social media is not the only bad habit she reported, Jares said another common issue seen in teenagers is lack of sleep. When you aren’t getting restorative sleep every night it can heighten stress, anxiety, and depression. 


     As I previously mentioned, there are many suitable remedies to try on your own. Jares tells us some of the ways you can improve your mental health such as: getting adequate sleep, limiting social media use, exercising, eating right and limiting caffeine intake. When speaking about tips Jares said, “If you ever need help with something just remember you can always see a school counselor, the SRO, the school nurse or another trained professional because they are here to help you. I would also recommend that teens learn and watch for the signs of suicidal behavior in their friends and family.” Jares tells us the warning signs of suicide may consist of:


  • Sadness accompanied by statements suggesting suicide
  • Suddenly giving valued objects away, 
  • Saying goodbye or speaking of themselves in past tense to family and friends
  • Increased drug or alcohol use
  • Visible scars from previous suicide attempts


      These are important signs to watch for because oftentimes there are signs before and it can usually be prevented. To take care of your own mental health you should follow the tips listed above, anyone can do it with some determination and effort and if you try you are sure to see some improvement.


REMEMBER- If you find yourself in a crisis situation you can always call 911, go to any emergency department, or call the suicide hotline (800-273-8255). Jares later said, “If you are concerned about your own mental health you should reach out to a mental health provider or a counselor and they can help you manage your situation better. Teens should know that if you are afraid to get help you can always contact a professional mental health provider or counselor where your information is protected and can’t be shared with anyone.”


      Managing your mental health and stress shouldn’t be something you do alone, nor should it feel impossible. You are never alone with all the resources made available to you, and if you consistently follow these five recommendations you are very likely to see improvement. When times are tough just remember that the stress is temporary and you are always valued here at Timberline.