A story about mental health and real relationships // The Observer

As another school year comes to an end here at the University of Notre Dame, there are many things for us students to be thankful and excited for as we begin our summer vacation. Whether it’s graduating, starting an internship, studying abroad, working at home, or going on vacation, there seem to be many ways in which our fellow students spend their time.

The college is unique in that its students come from a variety of different backgrounds, but for some, summer vacation may be a more dreaded time…

As most people know, mental health is a pertinent issue for our generation that can be caused by both internal and external factors. Signs of concern are often not clear to a person’s peers, which often leads to social anxiety, isolation, and fear of abandonment. These people seek trust and validation from those around them, while often portraying an energetic and excited mood when they may be feeling their worst.

Also, what if that person has a lot of problems at home? For example, they might experience physical or verbal abuse from a parent or witness violence against another family member. Other examples are a person’s parents who are considering a divorce or a parent who even threatens to kill themselves. Being here at school might be a safe place for many of those experiencing such difficulties, but a classmate would have no idea what their friend might be going through.

Honestly, my life seems great from the outside. However, to say I haven’t had my fair share of trouble would be a gross understatement. The things explained above are all things that I have personally experienced and these are all information that my friends do not know. I have recently asked for help and continue to try to grow spiritually every day. What I have learned is that life is hardest when you are depressed and have no one to turn to.

I owe the man I am today to the people God has placed around me and the experiences I have had with those people. Relationships have played a very important role in forming my beliefs and ideals. I believe that cultivating strong and healthy relationships not only makes you a happier person, it also makes you a better person.

An individual is a product of his own environment. You have to have strong relationships with family and friends that you can fully embrace, but you should also take care of everyone else. Surround yourself with family and friends you love and make the most of this time. These are the people who are willing to support you and who you know will take care of you.

Don’t judge a book by its cover. Act honestly and respectfully towards everyone with a smile on their face. You never know the real impact you can have. Trust me.

Chase Harding


April 19th

The views expressed in this letter to the editor are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

Tags: healthy relationships, mental health, social anxiety

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