Understanding common search terms can help educators and parents stay on top of student mental health concerns and emergencies

Cracking the code on student mental health


Understanding common search terms can help educators and parents stay on top of student mental health concerns and emergencies

The past year has taken a toll on students’ mental health. Rates of anxiety, depression, and stress are up and the CDC reports emergency room visits for adolescent suicide attempts have soared.

Teachers and school staff can play a critical role in addressing student mental health and supporting student wellbeing. But they can only help if they know what to watch for–and the warning signs aren’t always readily apparent.

Students often spend several hours a day online and often the first clues as to their feelings–good or bad–are found in their online communications with peers, their posts on social media and in chat rooms, and in their internet searches.

The terms they use when they’re discussing how they feel aren’t always obvious which makes it difficult for school staff to intervene and get them the help they need.

This list, from Impero Wellbeing’s keyword library, represents just some of the hundreds of terms that students commonly use when communicating to their peers or conducting online searches that could indicate concerns about mental health, eating disorders, violence against themselves or others, suicide and other issues:

  • Lexapro (clinical depression/anxiety med)
  • sanctioned suicide (Reddit thread)
  • EHTILB (“blithe” backwards – when searching eating disorders)
  • depression hurts
  • anxiety symptoms
  • #sophie #skip (used by those who suffer from schizophrenia)
  • MIA/ANA (for anorexia/bulimia)
  • Dallas
  • Olive (OCD)
  • want the pain to stop
  • can’t sleep/trouble sleeping
  • slef hram (common misspelling of “self harm”)
  • Dutch Act (slang for thoughts of taking one’s life)
  • Exit bag
  • TOXBASE
  • Take ur life
  • #cutfor[celebrity name}
  • CMW (cutting my wrists)
  • secret_society123 (tag/search for eating disorders/self harm)
  • where to hide scars/scar cover-up

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