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The Importance of Mental Health Education in Schools

William Ralph is a mental health and wellness expert with several years of experience in mental health research and awareness programs.

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According to MentalHealth.org, a large percentage of adults with mental health problems started showing symptoms in childhood and adolescence, with 20% of adolescents likely to experience a mental health problem in any given year, 50% of mental health problems are established by age 14 and 75% by age 24.2. Yet 70% of children and adolescents who experience mental health problems do not get the help they need at a sufficiently early age.

Early social and emotional development lay the foundation for resiliency throughout the lifespan.

With the rise of technology, social media, and other modern lifestyles, Mental health issues have become more common in children and adolescents in the US. While some people might argue that this has always been the case but that it had just been amplified by social media, we can however acknowledge that there have been both advantages and disadvantages to the age of social media, modern life, and mental health discourse.

While social media, has made cyberbullying and trolling major contributory factors to mental health problems in both young people and adults, it has also created a platform that is used to spread awareness about mental health and educate more people to recognize and seek help for mental health problems.

However, education about mental health and awareness should not be left to social media, it is an important crusade that requires active community participation. Mental Health education should be taught in schools, making it possible for children to learn about mental health in school amongst their peers and from teachers who they trust to teach them every other learning topic

Here are some interesting discourses on why mental health should be taught in schools,

the-importance-of-mental-health-education-in-schools

1. Recognizing Early Age Mental Health Disorders

It has already been established that lots of mental health symptoms emerge during childhood and adolescence.

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All over the world, there are shocking estimates about mental health;

In the United States, the CDC states that one in six children in the United States between ages 2 and 8 has a behavioral, developmental, or mental disorder. Additionally, it has been estimated that about 9% of children between the ages of 6 and 17 have suffered from anxiety or depression at some point in their life.

In Canada, the figure is approximated to be about 1 million youths, affected by Mental illness, and the number increases by age 25 to approximately 8 Million, making it 1 in 5 Canadians.

The estimates tell a very worrying story, showing that the current generation of youths is experiencing higher mental health problems than has been seen before. As previously mentioned, we have lots of factors to which we can safely attribute some blame but still, this reinforces the importance that mental health teachings in school will help to encourage more children and youths to recognize and seek help sooner.

2. Mental Health Is Equally Important as Physical Health

A lot of the time when people talk about health, or even when we hear health, we almost always think about physical health. The importance of physical health can never be overestimated or underestimated, however, it is important for us all to start considering the importance and impact of mental health on our whole well-being as well. A healthy life includes good health in the body and emotions, this means being healthy physically and mentally. This creates a balance that ensures happiness and healthy living that helps us cope with daily stresses.

Learning the roles of physical and mental health in our lives makes it easier to equip adults to function and handle life with or without mental health issues. Poor mental health and even a lack of awareness to recognize it can impact development in all spheres of life, from academic, to social relationships making it difficult to interact or concentrate. The early knowledge helps to educate and make awareness about helpful resources and treatment options available such as counseling and decreases the escalation of anxiety and depression to more serious and life-threatening incidents like chronic fatigue, increased stress levels, insomnia, and suicide

3. Societal Pressures from Social Media

The age of social media has been like a double-edged sword, bringing both good and bad tidings. Now bullying is just as vicious and mentally debilitating both physically and online. Online bullying and trolling can have just as much or even more mental effects on victims. These pressures, in addition to other vices of social media, the societal pressure of being young, hip, and trendy have amplified mental health issues in recent years. Trendy and unhealthy ways of socializing, behaving, and interacting add to the confusing state of mind of young adults.

Before they start using social media, children need to be taught how to understand mental health and what is important to them. Self-awareness helps children understand and avoid the pressures and unhealthy habits that can come with social media. Reduced reliance on social media is also important for a healthy mental state in children and when there is education and awareness about this, they can make conscious decisions to take needed breaks and develop a healthy use of social media.

In Conclusion

The most important reason for mental health education in schools is that early education and intervention will make all the difference in the life of anybody. Often, there are changes in behavior preceding the appearance or diagnosis of serious mental illness. When teachers, family, and friends are able to recognize the warning signs early on, like withdrawals, mood changes, falling academic performance, etc, it helps to seek the appropriate help needed. Early intervention plays a major role in drastically reducing the impact and severity of mental illness.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2022 William Ralph

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