Why Mental Health Should Be Taught in Schools
Mental health issues can negatively impact student performance, learning and overall wellbeing. Research shows that unaddressed mental health disorders are associated with lower grade point averages, higher dropout rates and more severe outcomes such as suicide.
Teaching mental health in schools is a great way to address this issue and reduce stigma. Moreover, it provides students with knowledge they can use to help themselves or others cope with mental health challenges.
It’s the Right Thing to Do
Mental health should be taught in schools for a variety of reasons. First, it’s a basic right of every student to be educated and to know how to take care of themselves.
Second, schools offer a critical opportunity to identify and address mental health issues that have significant effects on student outcomes. Research shows that unaddressed mental health issues can have negative impacts on a student’s learning, behavior, and overall wellbeing.
Third, educating students about mental health can reduce the stigma that often surrounds it. It can also help students recognize when they need help and connect them to the resources they need.
Fourth, a growing number of states are passing laws that require mental health instruction to be included in the school curriculum. These new laws are a crucial step toward ensuring that all kids get the education they need to be healthy and happy.
Five million children ages five to 17 are affected by mental illness in the United States. The most common disorders are depression, anxiety and bipolar disorder.
Teaching mental health in schools is the most effective way to combat this issue. It teaches youth that it’s normal to feel lonely, sad, anxious or angry from time to time and that they can seek help when they need it.
Sixth graders can start by taking classes about emotional intelligence and how to process positive or negative emotions. High school students can also benefit from classes on well-being and how to focus on their happiness, prosperity and health.
It’s a simple but powerful solution that can have a profound impact on a student’s life and their academic performance. Getting students to seek help early on can change their trajectory, and prevent them from suffering severe consequences like lower grades or dropping out of school. If we teach students to take responsibility for their own mental health, they will be empowered to make good decisions and live a happier and healthier life.
It’s the Right Thing to Say
Schools are often the first point of contact for youth, with their social and educational environment a prime space to develop social and emotional skills, establish friendship networks and build self-identity. However, they are not necessarily the best place to identify and address mental health concerns.
In the United States, mental illness is a serious public health issue and is growing in prevalence. Research suggests that more than 20 percent of adolescents experience a mental health problem and many are not getting the help they need at an early age.
A growing number of school administrators and educators are taking steps to make mental health a priority in their schools and in the classrooms. The idea is that good mental health will have positive effects on a student’s academic and social performance, their self-esteem and the ability to be part of a community.
Studies have shown that addressing mental health issues early can lead to better outcomes and reduced stigma. Teaching students about mental health as part of their education will also help them understand how they can take care of themselves.
Mentally healthy students are more likely to go to school ready to learn, participate in school activities, have supportive and caring connections with adults and young people, use appropriate problem-solving skills, have nonaggressive behaviors and add to a positive school culture.
Teachers, coaches and mentors should also be trained in how to recognize and address mental health challenges before they become problems. They should also be encouraged to have open conversations with their students about mental health so that they can teach them how to deal with negative feelings and encourage them to ask for help when needed.
There are a variety of ways that schools can address mental health in the classroom, from assigning daily journaling to setting up check-in procedures. These actions will normalize mental health and encourage young people to talk about their emotions and seek support.