Addressing Mental Health in Wantagh High School

Riley Henry, Reporter

With the epidemic of teen anxiety, mental health is becoming one of our top priorities. Wantagh High School has made an effort to broadcast this topic to students, faculty, and parents. Mental health is incredibly important, and most people discount it because sometimes you can not physically see how it affects people. states that “some people believe people with mental health problems are dangerous when in fact, they are at a higher risk of being attacked or harming themselves than hurting other people.”

WHS’s Dr. Guzzone made Angst, a documentary acknowledging anxiety disorders and the struggles that accompany them, available for families and staff to view.                                                                           

The featured teens shared their stories on how they have suffered from anxiety in their everyday lives. Many people assume that when you have anxiety that you can simply “stop being anxious,” but what many don’t know is that you have absolutely no control over it. Anxiety can touch anyone: your family, teachers, peers, or loved ones, and people could have no idea that you’re struggling. Dr.nGuzzone said, “As the building principal my first priority, quite honestly, is not student learning; it’s students feeling safe and comfortable within the building because I know that if we don’t address those things, then what we want for our students—to grow and develop socially and academicallywon’t be able to happen.”

Wantagh is also spreading awareness by promoting Morgan’s Message, which was created to help people who may be struggling emotionally and spread awareness of the importance of mental health, especially in athletes. According to their website, many say Morgan Rodgers had it all, but in January 2017, her sophomore year as a Duke lacrosse player, she had a “dream-shattering knee injury.” She was determined to recover quickly to get back on the field; however, she struggled with this quick change and “felt as if she had lost control within her life.” Morgan took her life on July 11, 2019.

To honor Morgan and acknowledge those struggling, Wantagh High School had a wall located in the lobby where students could take and leave an affirmation from a poster. Parenting and Child Development teacher and faculty advisor of Wantagh’s branch of Morgan’s Message, Mrs. Gompers, said, “I’m happy WHS is taking initiative to bring awareness to this and they are working towards expanding a current support team so no student feels alone.”

 Wantagh also participated in P.S. I Love You Day by asking students to come to school wearing purple. According to P.S. I Love You Day Inc.’s website, the organization’s goal is to stop bullying: “we strongly believe that by educating students earlier about mental health, the conversation will be easier to discuss and students will be able to recognize when they or others around them need help.” 

There are many organizations and people who are doing everything they can to inspire others and spread mental health awareness. So how can you help? What can you do? Everyone can help at least one person, if not more, and you never know what someone is going through, so start by spreading kindness.