Editorial: Mental health surveys provide insight on student wellbeing and necessary support

For some people, mental health surveys are a lifeline. Especially the non-anonymous ones.

If someone is suffering from conditions like depression, reaching out can feel impossible.

Asking for help from a dark place requires vulnerability, honesty and confidence. Most importantly, it requires you to realize what you are grappling with and admit to yourself that you cannot tackle it alone.

The truth is, hesitations often result in people never reaching out. Seeking assistance proves especially difficult in a culture entrenched with a sense of self-reliance and lingering stigma around mental health; the U.S. has some of the highest suicide rates among wealthy nations according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

Attitudes towards masculinity create another barrier, with men committing suicide nearly four times the amount women did in 2020.

Non-anonymous mental health surveys provide a unique solution to any hesitancy you may be feeling: it flags certain responses and informs your parents without your consent. Although certainly invasive, this forum has the potential to save lives.

No one is standing behind you forcing you to be honest, it comes down to personal choice if you tell the truth or not.

For people who aren’t ready to discuss mental health with their family, it’s easy to avoid.

For people who desperately need help but don’t have it in them to ask, it’s an indispensable resource. It allows a third party to step in and inform your family without you having to take the step yourself.

In some cases, people do reach out and receive disbelief, disrespect or ambivalence from their parents or guardians.

Having the school step in can demonstrate to these parents that there is a legitimate problem which needs dealing with.

Some questions seemed redundant or unrelated. Especially in younger grades, including middle schoolers, these questions can feel absurd.

We get that 173 questions in a row can feel draining especially when some questions have such heavy subject matter.

The truth is, as students age, they need to learn from experiences that these questions ask about.

With all that being said, yes, people lying on mental health surveys definitely impacts the data gathered on the responses. However, the surveys also provide people with an outlet to ask for help without ever asking, and it’s help that could save lives if the proper steps are taken afterwards.

Even if we don’t see the effects immediately, the surveys do hold merit, and they are essential to get some sort of message across.