Yours HumanlyMay 29, 2020
Why All Schools Should Teach Children About Mental Health
As Mental Health Awareness month comes to an end, it’s important to remember that mental health should be talked about all year round and taught to children early on.
Mental Health America (MHA) reports that one in five children has a diagnosable mental health problem, but nearly two-thirds of them get little or no help. Without help, mental health problems can affect a child’s functioning at home, at school, and in the community.
The longer the illness goes unchecked, the more severe the consequences become. According to MHA, “Lack of access to supports can have a serious and lasting impact across all areas of a child’s life. Leaving children without support contributes to school drop-out, unemployment, and involvement with the juvenile or criminal justice system. In addition to loss of short- and long-term opportunities, there is also loss of life with suicide as the second leading cause of death for those ages 10 to 24.” MHA reported.
Adults may not always realize when a child is struggling, and the child may not understand what he or she is going through either, which is why it is important that schools start teaching children about mental health alongside the physical health material.
School can have a significant impact on the mental health of children and their understanding of the subject. The adults in their home lives may not have learned much about mental health, due to the stigma that has been attached to the topic, so they may not be able to adequately help troubled children with their issues. School services may also be the only resource a child can access due to finances, living in a rural area, or having a difficult home life.
Research by the National Association of School Psychologists shows that students are more likely to seek counseling when resources are available at school. From the research they gathered, they also concluded that students who receive social, emotional, and mental health support achieve better academically.
Mental illnesses come in many different forms, but teaching children how to identify their feelings and express them to a trusted adult can help them to find the right diagnosis and start the road to recovery.