Why Mental Health Should Not Be Taught in Schools
As the nation’s health policy and practice shifts, schools must be front and center as partners for promoting and addressing mental health.
Having a strong school-based mental health curriculum helps kids become more resilient to life’s challenges and build healthier relationships.
Early identification and intervention is the best way to address problems like anxiety, depression, and stress. Teaching students how to recognize and handle their emotions will make it easier for them to get help when they need it.
1. It’s not a requirement
Mental health is a very personal and sensitive issue, which makes it a difficult topic to teach in school. Furthermore, students can feel uncomfortable discussing this subject, and teachers may not know how to best educate them about it.
As a result, teaching mental health in schools is not necessary and may not be beneficial. Moreover, it can lead to stigmatization and labeling of students who are struggling with mental health issues.
New York became the first state to require that all elementary, middle and high school students receive instruction in mental health in July 2018. The law is an important step toward reducing stigma and changing attitudes about mental illness.
In addition to lowering the stigma surrounding mental health, mental health education can help students understand how their mental health affects their physical well-being and their ability to perform at school. It can also teach students the skills they need to cope with stressful situations.
2. It’s not necessary
In the United States, it is estimated that one-fifth of children have a diagnosable mental health condition. Yet many do not receive treatment.
Schools should be a place where children can receive support when they need it. This can be done through a multitiered system of support that includes classroom lessons, assemblies, and group sessions led by school counselors.
Having a strong mental health curriculum in the classroom is an important step to improving students’ overall mental health and helping them develop relationship skills. It also provides students with tools to better manage their stress and intense emotions.
However, some parents are worried that a pervasive mental health education curriculum will turn into an obsession among kids and their parents. According to Charlotte Catherine Gill, a mother of high school students in Virginia, this could lead to students feeling “broken” and “diseased.”
3. It’s not effective
Mental health is a state of well-being characterized by emotional stability, good behavioral adjustment, relative freedom from anxiety and disabling symptoms, and capacity for constructive relationships and productive functioning.
One in six children experiences a mental health condition, and half of all mental illness begins by age 14. These conditions are often not diagnosed until the child is older, which leads to higher rates of school dropout, unemployment, substance abuse, incarceration, and suicide.
Schools are a natural place to address these problems. Educators have a long tradition of providing mental health services and have a wealth of knowledge about how to support students’ health and well-being.
However, many schools struggle to meet their recommended ratios for psychologists (500:1) and counselors (250:1). Additionally, most schools are facing provider shortages.
This is a problem that is particularly common among low-income families and communities of color. It is a serious issue that needs to be addressed. It is time for all of us to do more to ensure that every child has the opportunity to get the care he or she needs.
4. It’s expensive
Mental health is a major issue that affects many Americans, especially children. It’s not uncommon for children to have anxiety, depression or other disorders and struggle with social interactions and school performance.
Unfortunately, mental health problems are not always diagnosed properly and often go untreated. As a result, these disorders account for a huge portion of America’s medical costs.
Schools are often the first place students turn for help if they’re struggling with issues like anxiety or depression. Educating kids about their mental health is vital to helping them get the treatment they need and saving lives.
However, requiring schools to teach mental health is not necessary and could be costly for both educators and students. It also ignores the fact that students have the right to choose whether or not they want to participate in such programs. If a student is struggling, it would be better to respect their decision and let them know that they can get help from an adult.