The Effects a Teens Mental Health can have on Hygiene


Exit Vernon

Hygiene can be an issue to people who are knee deep in a depression, what do people need to know about the hygiene while in the midst of a depressive episode?

Exit Vernon, Design Editor

When walking down the halls, it’s likely you will pass by someone who smells.

“[With] two people in the hallway I got stuck behind them and I had to hold my breath up the stairs. Do you have any idea how hard it is to walk upstairs holding your breath?” Haley Lindsay (‘25) said.

Most people can agree that teens smell bad, but what they don’t see is the deeper reason why.

Yale Medicine describes depression as “Persistent feelings of sadness that interfere with the ability to function in daily life,” one of these interferences is hygiene. Nexus Family Healing states, “depression, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and psychotic disorders are examples where large reductions or changes in personal hygiene are seen,” so why are these two things connected?

“Just like your hygiene habits, brushing your teeth, washing your face, etc., you, too, should have the habit of incorporating positive mental practices that become a habit and boost your mood and regard for yourself,” Ms. Rebecca Shay, guidance counselor, said.

But it’s the reasons behind this stench that can be very concerning. Depression can affect students of all ages, social classes, and backgrounds. The World Health Organization says, “Depression affects all types of people – young and old, rich and poor – in all countries.”

Depression can also make someone unmotivated.

“I had students that were depressed and didn’t have the energy to get out of bed, much less bathe themselves. I gave them shampoo, soap towels and clean clothes. I can say they did seem to have a more positive effect and seemed to be happier after,” Ms. Kincheloe Fitzpatrick, the school social worker, said.

 How can you expect someone who is struggling in that way to do something like brush their teeth? Serious mental illnesses can lead to very serious consequences, not only a lack of cleanliness.

“It can certainly affect your social life. If you don’t have the energy to get out of bed, how do you have the energy to go to work? It’s the trickle down effect,” Mrs Fitzpatrick said.

Hygiene and self care go hand in hand. Self care can be taking more time to focus on yourself and not just hygiene. So self care is very important. Mental Health First Aid says “Practicing self-care can better equip you to deal with a crisis.”

“I’ve always said there are going to be many people throughout your life bringing you down, so we all need to be our best cheerleaders. If we don’t work at loving ourselves and bringing ourselves up, then the opposite is likely to occur,” Ms. Shay said.

But for men, admitting that you have depression can be difficult and taking care of yourself can be even more challenging.

I think that many men try to portray an image of strength for themselves, and tend to hide away their faults,” Coach Kaiden Lewis said.

For some, the obvious answer is to just shower, but the solution is not that simple. Getting over a depressive episode can take weeks or longer.

I would recommend minimizing the use of social media and phone use. Take a walk – take time  to appreciate the beauty. No negative mental issues will change overnight,- it needs to be practiced daily for several weeks. Accept there will be days when the sun is not shining so bright and you don’t feel as good, but don’t give up on yourself and working on loving yourself,” Ms. Shay said.

You never really know what someone is going through, so never be quick to judge them based on “stench.”