Mental health is becoming an increasingly hot topic in the country. The increase in the number of individuals suffering from mental related illnesses has necessitated the need for improved actions. In the past, the issue of mental illnesses had been largely underestimated among the younger demographics. However, things the present reality is changing this approach.
National survey statistics reveal that around 50% of youth aged between 13 and 18 years are bound to experience mental related illnesses at a point in their life. Moreover, suicide is increasingly becoming one of the leading causes of death in this age group. In about 25 states, suicide rates among teenagers have increased by over 30% in the last decade.
As you would expect, these statistics have been a cause of concern among the stakeholders in the education sector. They recognize that teenagers in this age bracket spend most of their time in school. Therefore, the highest probability is that the triggers of these illnesses are in school. As such, it makes perfect sense to also come up with ways to deal with the problem at school. Among the ways of dealing with the issue is through mental health education. Therefore, in this article, we review the importance of taking this approach in schools.
Mental Health Education Helps Create Mental Illness Awareness
Mental health awareness is regarded as the most effective preventive measure of these forms of illnesses. It also promotes a quick recovery because individuals can recognize the early signs of mental health disorders. Understanding and accepting the symptoms in the earlier stages ensures that students can seek help before it is too late for them.
Advocates of mental health education propose that creating awareness is an effective strategy for minimizing the stigma associated with this condition. It offers an opportunity for both educators and students to familiarize themselves with the facts and avoid misconceptions about mental illnesses. Therefore, students will have the courage to speak up when experiencing challenges that may trigger mental related illnesses at school.
Mental Health Education Addresses the Stress and Anxiety Students Face in School
Anxiety and stress are among the greatest triggers of mental related illnesses. Among students, the challenges they face at school contribute to their stress and anxiety in schools. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), about one in eight children in America are diagnosed with an anxiety disorder.
However, the shocking details are that 80% of the children with diagnosable anxiety disorder do not get the relevant treatment they require. On the other hand, 60% of children with similar identifiable depression do not get the required treatment.
The academic pressure at school may cause certain students to experience anxiety and stress while in school. For example, students have to worry about who will write my essay? When is the assignment due and how do I improve my grades? The pressure to perform and maintain a favorable academic-social balance may be too much for them to handle.
Moreover, most of the relationships students develop in the teenage years are mainly done in schools. Students will also be busy trying to establish their self-worth and win over friends. Therefore, mental health education is essential in helping teenagers understand their worth and develop confidence in themselves. It minimizes their chances of getting depressed or getting overstressed up by the challenges they face.
Importance of Mental Health Education in Building Resilience
Resilience is regarded as the capacity to deal with and flourish when faced by challenges, adversity, or negative events. It is considered an important skill to develop for individuals dealing with mental health issues. Development of this skill can be enhanced by factors such as:
- Healthy social connections
- Positive social values
- Enhanced life skills on problem-solving and coping
- A developed sense of self-confidence
- Positive and safe environments
Providing mental health education in schools is a positive move towards helping students develop resilience skills. It offers them insight on how to model their behaviors and improve their social values. On the other hand, developing a good teacher-student relationship is a step in the right direction in terms of promoting a safe environment for mental health.
The Role of Mental Health Education in Reducing Teenage Suicide
In America, suicide ranks in the top three causes of death among teenagers aged 10 to 24 years. Among these deaths, over 90% of these suicide is as a result of mental related illnesses. These statistics are both frightening and a source of concern among the education stakeholders.
Since the introduction of mental health education in the curriculum, notable changes have been observed in terms of reduction in the number of students committing suicide. The education helps creates awareness of the mental illness reality, including the signs involved. Educators are also better equipped to detect the signs of mental illness in their students and take preventive actions in advance.
Mental illnesses among teenagers are gradually becoming a reality that American society has to deal with. The increased number of students suffering from mental related illnesses is a source of concern among the education stakeholders. However, with the introduction of mental health education in the curriculum, there is hope for a positive change.