Mental Health Issues In Schools

In the winter of seventh through the summer of eighth grade- I was facing a depressive episode- years later, I still deal with Mental illness. However, the resources for Mental Health in my school didn’t extend much further than some posters hung in hallways- even then, talking about it was treated as taboo. So, what can we do to ensure that we offer viable resources and care for our peers’ mental health?

A study taken by NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) determined that one in six youth ages 6-17 have

Image sourced from NPR

experienced a mental health disorder each year- half of these conditions begin by age 14. The article mentions that only 15% of students, ages 12-17, received mental health care from providers in their school- nearly the same as students in that age group who utilized care from mental health professionals (17%).

Many will dismiss mental health issues as a just phase, hormones, or someone trying to seek attention. But why do we reject these factors of mental health issues when most people face mental health issues? Whether it is long-term or short, diagnosable or not- which is why organizations-specifically Ames Community districts and other school districts, need to provide access and promote utilizing mental health professionals on-campus.

To explore this idea further- an article from the New York Times, When Your Job Harms Your Mental Health, the writer explores how we receive inadequate and unattentive responses to mental health issues compared to visible health issues through Michelle Osaka’s experience.

This piece makes it even more evident that mental health isn’t valued to the same extent as visible health is.

Research provided by The Mental Health Foundation states that our Physical and Mental health are interconnected. So why aren’t they treated in the same way? Well, in many cases- one is visible, while the other isn’t. I am sure we have all heard the, I have to see it to believe it phrases at some point, right? If our mental health care is one of the main ways to make these issues tangible- we can then identify how essential this care truly is.

“Undiagnosed, untreated or inadequately treated mental illnesses can significantly interfere with a student’s ability to learn, grow and develop” (NAMI, Mental Health in Schools).

Image Sourced from The Pit News

Having to constantly interact, push work out for 5+ classes daily, and still take care of ourselves gets tiring quickly. Including a more interactive Mental Health care system- such as adding therapists and trained counselors in schools, allows students to manage the workload- and learn how to cope with stress and other mental health struggles.

Mental health isn’t impossible to work with- it is just something we need to start dealing with without demonetizing it.

 


Christina Caron. “When Your Job Harms Your Mental Health.” The New York Times. 2 Jun. 2021

Mental Health In Schools.” National Alliance On Mental Illness

Physical and Mental Health.”Mental Health Foundation. 9 July. 2021.