In school, we learn how to read and write, we learn math, history, literature, and science, but we don’t learn a lot about ourselves, about our emotions, thoughts, and behaviors. Here we will explain why mental health should be taught in schools.
Depression and anxiety among children are on the rise and the pressure created by social media is growing. Children and teens today are more exposed to different kinds of negativity. The start of many mental health conditions starts in adolescence. Half of the individuals living with mental illness have experienced the first symptoms at the age of 14. Additionally, 75% of people who have mental health issues have experienced the first symptoms at the age of 24. That’s why it’s crucial for young people to understand their mental health at an early age.
One in five young people lives with mental health conditions where less than half receive the needed support. Undiagnosed and untreated mental health conditions can affect a child’s ability to grow and develop.
Physical education has been compulsory in schools for the past 100 years. We teach children about the importance of nutrition and exercise while we don’t talk about their moods, feelings, thoughts, and behavior. We do, but only to react to socially unacceptable behavior. As physical education lessons are compulsory in schools, in the same way, mental health lessons should be compulsory. Both are important! How to stay fit, and develop a habit of exercising and doing a sport? And how to be or stay emotionally intelligent? How ask for help?
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Mental illnesses such as depression will be one of the major health issues in the decades to come. Depression is one of the main causes of chronic illness in the developed world. It’s more than interesting why we are not arming our children with the help needed for navigating through the adult years. Life can be very confusing for young people, especially today. The circumstances of growing up were different 50 years ago than they are now.
Schools are where children and teenagers spend most of their day. It’s the place where they build friendships and where they form relationships. School is often the place where they develop a feeling of self-worth through school achievements, sports, and popularity. And it’s a place where mental health issues start developing. The schools are not to blame. Teachers are not to blame either. Children in school get information on health issues only if they ask.
National Alliance on Mental Illness understands the importance of schools preventing mental health issues and they support training school faculty and staff on the early warning signs of mental health conditions. It’s also important to fund school-based professionals to give support and coordinate services successfully within a school.
Why Mental Health Should be Taught in Schools? What we often fail to comprehend is that all of us will deal with mental health issues at some point in our life. Whether we are talking about our own issues or issues that a loved one might encounter. Schools need to address mental health and prevent issues, not react once the problem happens, and only if the problem is socially unacceptable.
Without being taught why mental health is important, kids won’t understand the impact of bullying, spreading rumors, fat-shaming or slut-shaming. They won’t understand the importance of kindness, empathy and care that we have to show for each other. Some of them will never learn to show empathy. The first step in understanding mental health is education. We are just hoping that parents are educating children inside the home and we hope schools will soon be more involved.