Mental heath meets art and education


Kylee Crisswell

Students are connecting to their creativity in an attempt to alleviate stress.

Trigger Warning: This article mentions depression and anxiety.

The Insight uses Moe Rivers to protect the identity and privacy of anonymous sources. The pseudonym is generic and does not imply the same individual with repeated use.

“I knew when”  written by Moe Rivers
I knew it was getting bad again
when I forgot to make my bed in the mornings
I knew it was getting bad again
when I forgot to brush my teeth
I knew it was getting bad again
when one night I went to bed at 7:30 without feeding my rats
And I knew it was getting bad again 
when I spent more time asleep than I did awake
I slept to avoid the pain. but my dreams turned to nightmares, impossible to escape
I dreamed of my teeth falling out, and of losing all my friends
and I started to think it wouldn’t end
I knew it was getting bad again
when I shut people out
when I said I was tired. just to avoid letting things go, and so that I could go home and sleep away the dreary day that I had. only to forget that my dreams are now nightmares for which I carry regret.
I knew it was getting bad again, when I started to look for reasons to stay
I used it as an escape
“I haven’t ever finished my shampoo and conditioner at the same time”
but yesterday that happened
so I looked for more, but I realized that no matter what I looked up I had already completed that list, and that one. and that one, and that one. nothing made sense, these lists are supposed to be endless but I’ve completed all of them and now I don’t know where to turn.


Some days it’s easier than others,
it’s easier to fake a smile when you’re surrounded by smiling people
but the weekends are rough
not many people answer their phones. or want to make plans, or in general pay me any mind. 
Am I the only one of my kind?
A teenager who can’t seem to smile and have it be real, a teenager who just can’t seem to get a grip.


I knew it was getting bad again
when my leggings started to rip. 
I was picking at them to avoid picking at my lips. 
my jeans had gone loose, I forgot to eat for a few days, I was holed up in my room. 
I knew it was getting bad again when I considered writing letters to those I love “just in case”
I knew it was getting bad again, when I prayed for the first time in years, just to be okay.


In an article published by it was reported that as of 2021, high school students with significant symptoms of mental illness became twice as likely to drop out compared to those without. Around this time, research shows that just above 78% of adolescents 3-17 years of age receive treatment for mental health. In an interview with a student named Moe Rivers, they began by stating that the poetic piece “I knew when” was one of their first, and few, artistic expressions. Pieces written in times like this are often nothing more than streams of thought written for the sake of verbalizing internal struggles. That’s exactly what this poem did. The ability to convey and dissect difficult emotions can make them less difficult.

“The mind is mean and it can be difficult to deal with on your own. You should reach out for help because everyone deals with it at different times.”

Moe went on to say when this piece was written it was about stability. Writing calms and empties all of the hard thoughts running through their head. As different social settings began to form this piece helped them regain their bearings. 

“It’s okay to not be okay. Not every day will be a good one, recovery is nonlinear and there’s always someone you can talk to, even in a school setting,” River said.

This poem is meant to highlight how students want to be heard by their admin as well as their peers. By having resources for students to make use of as well as encouraging students to use them, the stigma of mental health can be more easily broken. 

“When you show real signs of depression you are told your room is sloppy, and your hygiene is poor. You become seen as more gross than getting asked how can I help you. This isn’t how it should be,” Rivers said.

Students spend approximately half of their lives in a classroom abiding by the rules and regulations instilled to provide a safe, efficient learning environment. The ability to prepare students for a beneficial future is the ultimate goal of any school administration.  Knowing the people to reach out to and trusting them not to judge can be scary. The world is constantly changing, and anxieties are growing. If you need help, reach out to any of the following resources.

Yukon High School At-Risk and Virtual Counselor:
[email protected]

Suicide Prevention Hotline:
1-800-273-TALK (8255)

Oklahoma Health and Human Services Hotline:
Call 211