Mental Health in the Middle School

Mental health is a topic that is often overlooked in middle schools. However, it is a crucial time in a young person’s life where they are experiencing a lot of changes, both physically and emotionally. Unfortunately, there is still a lot of stigma surrounding mental health, which can prevent students from seeking the help they need. It’s important to recognize that mental health is just as important as physical health. We take care of our bodies by eating healthy and exercising, but we also need to take care of our minds. This means paying attention to our emotions, thoughts, and behaviors, and seeking help when we need it, at any age or stage in life.

Communicating about mental health can be difficult for anyone, but it can be especially challenging for adolescents who may feel embarrassed or ashamed to talk about their feelings. However, it’s important for young people to feel comfortable expressing their mental health concerns so that they can get the support they need. Every young person I work with reviews safety planning each session to ensure if/when they need support they have a plan to communicate with a trusted adult in their life. This also provides the opportunity for the client to begin feeling comfortable advocating for their needs appropriately in different spaces.

Being able to create a supportive and inclusive school environment that prioritizes mental health, can help connect students to services they may need, while slowly breaking down the stigma that surrounds mental health. This means providing resources and support for students who are struggling, as well as educating teachers and parents on how to recognize and address mental health concerns when necessary. By prioritizing mental health and well-being, teachers can help to ensure that all students have the opportunity to thrive and reach their full potential. This can not only improve their academic performance, but can also provide lifelong skills for resiliency. 

Allyson BalliAllyson Balli

Allyson Balli (she/her/hers) is a school-based therapist, currently working at Bettendorf Middle School. She is excited to work with this population, helping these young individuals find their voices in a such a loud world. Allyson believes every voice matters and should have the opportunity to be heard and understood, no matter what. She recently graduated from Western Illinois – QC with her MS Ed. in Counselor Education, where she endured the strange world of education before and after COVID. She looks forward to growing into the mental health field at Heart and Solutions as well as Bettendorf Middle School, and further serving her community. When not at work, Allyson enjoys spending time reading anything Harry Potter related, cooking, or traveling. She especially loves traveling with her husband, son and 4-legged daughter to golf, fish or catch a Braves baseball game!