Let’s Talk About Mental Health in School


Madison Locke, Staff Writer

Mental health problems are escalating at a rapid pace and and not much is being done about it. Of course there is medication and hospitalization, but why would you want to do that if you don’t have to? If schools would talk more frequently about mental health and the alternative treatments to use instead of medication, then there might be less issues. Though it won’t stop mental health disorders entirely, it could help teach people how to recognize the signs and different coping mechanisms. Also with social media being a huge part of everyday life, we need to pay attention to mental health now more than ever.

According to the National Alliance of Mental Health, many mental illnesses begin before the age of 14, but most people wait until 10 years after their first symptoms occur to get treatment. The same group also said that 1 in 5 Americans have some sort of mental health problem. This is equivalent to 43.8 million people that have a mental health problem in the United States alone. Waiting to get treatment is troublesome because in ten years a disorder can progress significantly. This will make it harder to treat mental illness, and can delay the treatment process. However, by seeking help as early as possible, it will be less difficult to overcome.

Mental disorders can lead to devastating life changes and physical health problems. Someone with mental health problems has a higher rate of obesity, physical inactivity, and tobacco use. Additionally, suicide can result from mental health problems and is the second most leading cause of deaths amongst people who are 15-24 years old. There is also more of a risk of struggling with poverty, homelessness, and social isolation in those affected. Students are more likely to drop-out of school and perform lower in school if they are suffering from a mental disorder.

Talking about mental health issues can result in healthier relationships. Whether the relationship is between family, friends, or a romantic partner, people that can talk openly about certain subjects may be more trusted and people can speak more honestly to them because of this. I understand that some people may not enjoy talking about mental health, or feel uncomfortable while doing so, but there are other alternatives to speaking face-to-face. For example, someone could complete a worksheet based on what they would like to talk about instead of meeting with a person.

The only thing that may be a problem with talking about mental health is that it can trigger a disorder. For example, if people talk about weight and what a healthy weight is, it can trigger eating disorders in someone who is self conscious about their weight. If a class was created to educate students about the importance of mental health, then those students who are at risk could be excused from that part of the class. They can also do an alternative project or be exempt from the graded project.

Schools can also teach other methods of treatment that can help a mental health problems besides medication. Some examples of other methods are: music therapy, art therapy, psychotherapy, and there are community support groups. This may entice people to get help as they will be able to see how many options they have.

Although not everybody will suffer from a mental health problem, most people will eventually. The more people talk about it in school and out of school, the more attention this problem will get. If everybody starts talking about it, more research will be done, and doctors may even be able to find a cure for some of the devastating disorders.