Why Mental Health Should Be Taught in Schools
Mental health is one of the most under-taught topics in school. It impacts how students think, feel and behave.
The CDC estimates that 1 in 6 US children and adolescents experience a mental health condition during their lifetimes. Additionally, half of all mental health conditions begin by age 14.
1. Increased Awareness
Mental health is an important aspect of education that students should be taught about. This is because it helps students recognize a problem when they see one, and how to get help if they are struggling with their mental health.
A student’s mental health should be a priority, just as much as their physical health. This is because mental health issues affect learning and achievement.
Children with poor mental health have trouble learning and concentration, lower grades and are more likely to drop out of school.
Teaching mental health in schools can help reduce the stigma that surrounds these issues, which can lead to fewer young people turning to drugs and alcohol as an escape. This can be especially true for low-income youth.
2. Increased Self-Awareness
Students who receive mental health support in school tend to exhibit better academic performance and social relationships. They also have higher self-esteem and fewer behavioral problems.
However, despite the fact that these factors contribute to a positive sense of wellbeing, mental health can be impacted by a variety of situations. It is important to know your triggers and emotions so you can manage them in a healthy way.
Self-awareness is the ability to identify and understand your thoughts, emotions, values, beliefs, and behaviors. It can also help you to identify any areas you need to work on.
3. Increased Communication Skills
One of the main reasons mental health should be taught in schools is to help children understand that it is a normal part of life. This can prevent them from feeling ashamed or afraid to seek support when they need it.
Students have lots of stress in school; academic pressure, dealing with bullying and social isolation, friendship issues and more. All these things can affect a student’s mental health and wellbeing.
Staff in all three schools recognised the importance of culture and a proactive stance on leading and shaping it (including having senior leaders responsible for it). Their stated reasons for prioritising it included to reflect the needs of a diverse student intake (especially across ethnicity and socioeconomic status); mitigate the impact of COVID19 pandemic mitigation measures on students’ wellbeing; and responding to the UK Government’s push for better mental health provision in schools.
4. Increased Awareness of Mental Health Issues
Mental health education is a vital component of education, just as physical and nutritional education are. It gives young people the tools they need to recognize the signs and symptoms of mental health disorders and know where to go for help when they’re struggling.
Getting mental health education in schools is also essential for combating the stigma of mental illness. It helps normalize the conversation about mental health and gives students confidence to talk openly about their struggles.
Educating young people about mental health can make a big difference for them and their families, helping them feel more comfortable asking for help and finding the right treatment when they need it. This can save lives and improve their academic performance in the long run.
5. Increased Awareness of Suicide
One of the biggest reasons why mental health should be taught in schools is to raise awareness about suicide. This can help individuals recognize the signs of suicidal thoughts and seek out appropriate care to prevent the situation from getting worse.
In addition to increasing awareness about suicide, mental health education can also decrease the stigma that surrounds this issue. By starting these conversations earlier, students can be more likely to seek help when they need it and have more productive conversations about their mental health.
During National Suicide Prevention Month, schools and communities can take part in campaigns to raise awareness about suicide. These campaigns can involve messaging about the impact of depression and other mental illnesses, reducing access to lethal means, and increasing social support for those who may be struggling with a mental illness or substance use disorder.