A mental health crisis amongst teens has intensified following the pandemic, leaving students stressed and isolated. To combat this, the school offers resources and support from counselors and school psychologists. However, the problem lies in the lack of education among students to recognize when they need help. The school must implement mental health education to help students better understand and, eventually, manage their mental health.
Half of all mental health conditions start in a person’s adolescent years, the most common being ADHD, depression, and anxiety. Mental health disorders can be prevented and controlled but only when detected risk factors are identified early on, which would be easier with education. Students cannot be expected to seek help if they are unaware of a problem, since many will only consider seeking help if they identified an issue. Educating students about mental health will ensure they are equipped to understand the necessity of help to prevent their conditions from worsening in the future.
Like physical health, mental health is important to students’ well-being. However, only physical health is implemented in courses such as Physical Education and Physiology. Both equally affect students every day, so the social stigma and negative stereotypes surrounding mental health is not a valid excuse to avoid the important topic. Teaching mental health openly in a classroom can finally inform students of its importance to one’s well being.
It is the school’s responsibility to promote academic success and student welfare, and students’ mental health directly impacts their performance in the classroom. A poor mental state can be debilitating, leading one to neglect school work. By teaching healthy coping mechanisms in mental health classes, students can learn to develop a healthier state of mind, leading to better academic performances.
Opposers to mental health education argue it will harm students by causing them to overthink and obsess over something they might not even have. While this is possible, the positive effects of being educated outweighs the negative. Teens often brush aside their problems as being typical “teenage angst” and normalize their feelings even when they are unhealthy. Ignoring a possible mental illness will only aggravate it overtime. If students are shown the destigmatization of mental health through education, they would be increasingly willing to seek needed help.
The school needs to begin requiring mental health courses. Only when students start receiving help and measures are taken to care for students’ well-being can the crisis be alleviated. In the meantime, students should speak to counselors and utilize other resources, but mental health education remains necessary for students to seek help without stigma.