Staying Mentally Healthy


Photo Courtesy: Ms. Ragasa

Owen Agbayani, Reporter

When one heard the words “mental health,” what came to mind? For many people in Hawaii, it was a topic that wasn’t quite touched on. Others, a glaring term synonymous with “fear” and “crazy”. Unless, of course, they took a psychology class at James Campbell High School. Or perhaps joined Choose Love, an organization at James Campbell High School (JCHS) dedicated to spreading mental health awareness.

In either case, though, mental health is more important than people may think.

It was a central part in all stages of life. Mental health was a key player in maintaining not just physical health, but also positive relationships with others. It has supported many students at JCHS, as they coped with the stress that came with their rigorous classes. Above all, mental health exemplified potential to do good in local communities. 

On March 25th, 2020, Governor David Ige signed a stay-at-home order. In the following months, students around the island experienced a time of isolation like never before. As they looked forward to the start of this school year in-person, they were instead met with government lockdowns and mask-mandates, thrown into a new world of virtual learning. 

Now more than ever, however, it should be reassured that they are not alone. 

Although many favorite places have been shut down due to this lockdown, there are many opportunities that can help students push through this pandemic. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, for example, recommended keeping in touch with others, and getting enough sleep. 

For Luana Ragasa, JCHS Academy of Creative Media Counselor, she recommended that students pursue new hobbies or interests during this time, and set goals in order to stay active. 

“The hardest part about trying something new, is starting,” she said, “once you start doing something new, then it gets easier.”

The practice of mental health, too, could not be stressed enough. Ragasa said, “Mental health is just like physical health. It’s something you work on. It’s something you mold.”

A notable effort being made towards mental health awareness at JCHS is Mindful Moments. It is a new activity that took place every Monday morning from the school’s HA Team and Choose Love organization. 

At the end of the day, mental health has not been addressed enough within Hawaii’s community. It is the responsibility of each and every person to reach out to others, even more so during a pandemic, and to talk about their experiences and emotions. 

“If you need someone to talk to, let us know. You can tell a counselor anything. We’re with you every step of the way,” Ragasa said.