For Some, Summer Vacation Leads to More Mental Health Challenges


Wilde Lake Student is seen receiving information from guidance counselor, Ms. Pruett.

Though summer is a time of freedom and fun for many, for others, the loss of easy access to school resources, especially in relation to mental health, can make summer seem unending. Losing the structure and support that school provides, tends to leave some students alone with their thoughts, which can be a dangerous thing for many who are struggling with mental illnesses. A Wilde Lake sophomore, who wishes to remain anonymous, often finds themselves struggling with mental health issues outside of school, “summer break is hard because at least during school I have a support system.”

However, this student is in a disturbing majority when it comes to adolescents failing to receive the treatment they need. A 2013 study by the U.S. Department of Health and Human services found that less than half of American teens with psychiatric disorders are given the necessary professional treatment. The price of suitable mental health care can make it difficult to access, and the stigma surrounding treatment often forms another obstacle.  

Tammy Goldberg, a local psychotherapist and licensed clinical social worker, says students often struggle during summer due to stress from family, missing their friends, too much or not enough free time, and dealing with mental illness without their usual support systems. She recommends that students use mindfulness exercises such as guided meditation, journaling, strategies from established websites, and support groups both in person and online for support. She also cites Grassroots Crisis Intervention (410-531-6677), NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) (410-772-9300), and the National Suicide Prevention Hotline (1-800-273-8255), as valuable resources in times of crises. By raising awareness of these resources Goldberg hopes students can continue to be supported throughout the summer. Sophomore Jackson Sanchez-Lopez said that, “using resources like these during summer would help me talk out my feelings better, and I would be happier.”