Today is World Teen Mental Wellness Day. In honor of it, I want to share how school budget cuts inadvertently led me to take a closer look at the importance of mental health. And for that, I am eternally grateful.
In my sophomore year of high school, I wanted to quench my thirst for academic validation and take online AP Psychology to pile up on APs and boost my GPA as many high-achieving students strive to do. My school, however, did not offer the class that year due to changes in their budget as a result of the pandemic. So, administrators altered my schedule and placed me in Applied Positive Psychology, a topic I had never even heard of. I was initially very disappointed that I was stuck in this seemingly pointless class.
During the first few weeks of it, I was on autopilot and would often tune out because I thought the information discussed and mental health as an overall topic didn’t apply to me. But the one time I wasn’t half-asleep in class and actually paid attention I realized I was wrong.
For an assigned project, I had to analyze the book, The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work by Shawn Achor. I droned over the words as they meshed together in a sea of apparent nonsense when one snake of words made me stop and perk up. “Happiness is not the result of success—it’s the cause of it.” This was ground-breaking information for me as the reverse statement was constantly pounded into my ears from a young age.
My entire family is from Egypt and talk of mental health is taboo. In my culture, there is this fear of admitting to mental health issues and breaking the status quo of being strong, which is literally my last name in Arabic (Shedeed). I tried to ignore Achor’s words, but a lingering thought kept annoying me. Could it be possible to live both a successful and happy life? As I read on and learned more about mental health, I realized how it was always a prevalent issue in my life, and I began to recognize its importance. For instance, my cousins who would secretly take antidepressants revealed to me the harm of suffering in silence. My grandparents’ mood swings and increased outbursts after their split proved to me that mental health challenges are not just a creation by Gen Z. I now see that providing general information about mental health is necessary to truly change people’s mindsets and promote change which is needed to combat stigma and counteract the epidemic of mental health issues in this country.
On World Teen Mental Wellness Day, it’s important for teens (and everyone else) to prioritize mental health. Not every country is lucky enough to have a mental health infrastructure or even a society that has begun to address and foster conversations around teen mental health. That’s why I’m proud to be a part of NASSP’s NHS Student Leadership Network on Mental Health. I’m also proud that our network allows teens to convene in a safe and comfortable manner and discuss relevant topics that affect their mental health. Learning a simple fact about mental health or having an impactful conversation with teen facilitators about well-being can transform one’s perception about the overall topic—just like it did for me.
Learn more about the NHS Student Leadership Network on Mental Health at https://www.nhs.us/student-leadership-network/.
You can bring the legacy of National Honor Society to your school.
A National Honor Society (NHS) chapter elevates your school’s commitment to the values of scholarship, service, leadership, and character. Not only that, but it is a proud accomplishment for schools to administer a national recognition program that celebrates holistic assessment of student achievement.Join NHS Today
6 Reasons to Join
Adviser Resource Center
Everything you need to start and run a chapter.
Customer Care Center
Dedicated team to answer questions and provide advice.
Purchase official recognition items for your students.
Stay up to date on training and program offerings.
Impact Your Community
Ideas for outreach projects to benefit local organizations.
Students are empowered to prepare for their futures.
NHS is a wonderful organization because it addresses the student as an entire person who is successful in academics but also serves the community and represents the community with strong leadership and excellent character.
NHS is such a wonderful organization. My students strive to be better people because of this organization and its four pillars. Thank you.
For a small school, my students are really going above and beyond to engage with our community and help out, especially because there are many below the poverty line in our community.
Three Easy Steps
Explore nhs.us to learn more about what is expected of an NHS chapter, and start to consider which faculty member will become he chapter adviser.
Mail in the enclosed application or apply online at the URL listed above. The annual fee is just $385.
Once you’re approved, you’ll receive welcome materials and instant access to the NHS Handbook and member-only sections of the NHS website.
What will I get when our school becomes affiliated with NHS?
With a new NHS chapter, you will receive a welcome package from the national office that contains a certificate of affiliation. You will also have access to the following resources for administering the NHS recognition program:
- Adviser Resource Center with step-by-step guidelines, templates for bylaws and communications, handbooks, and comprehensive policy guidance
- National Customer Care Center and Programs and Services Team, available 8:30 a.m.–5:00 p.m. (ET) at 703-860-0200 and [email protected]
- Access to the NHS Store
- Principal and adviser monthly communications and targeted training opportunities
We are establishing a new NHS chapter. How do we get started?
Once you are affiliated with NHS, your new adviser will have access to several resources that will help kick-start a new chapter or rejuvenate an existing one. In the Adviser Resource Center, you will find a section for “New Chapters & New Advisers” that includes a sample constitution, an adviser skills checklist, a survival guide, and more. Your adviser will also have access to the Adviser Online Community, where they can connect with new and veteran advisers from across the country.
What are the benefits of NHS for students?
NHS membership is invitation-only. And once inducted, NHS student members are members for life. As members, students have opportunities to expand their leadership and are called to serve as role models in valuing the mindsets and actions related to scholarship, service, leadership, and character. Additionally, students are able to apply for the NHS Scholarship and attend college admission and financial aid planning webinars.