According to statistics, 20% of adolescents may experience a mental health problem. Additionally, 70% of children and teens get no help with their mental health problems at a sufficiently early age.
Mental health issues are becoming more common in children and adolescents in the US. Thus children and adolescents should learn about mental health in school. There are several reasons why this is so, and this article will take a closer look at them.
Mental Health Is Equally Important as Physical Health
When we hear the word “health,” we tend to think of physical health. Physical health plays a vital role in our lives. However, we should also consider mental health. If we want to maintain a happy and healthy life, we need to learn how mental and physical health work together. When they work together, we can keep our lives in balance.
To live a happy life while coping with everyday stresses, we need to know how to handle our mental health. We can learn this while we are in school. Knowing the role mental health plays in their lives allows children to become happy adults. Happy, functional adults are better equipped to handle life.
Students’ Mental Health Impacts Learning and Achievement
Few children realize that poor mental health can affect learning and achievement. Children and adolescents who have mental health problems may have trouble learning. They may also have difficulty completing tasks and concentrating. These children are also more likely to have lower grades and take a leave of absence from school.
Children and teens with mental health problems are less likely to graduate. They also struggle more with attending and completing post-secondary education.
Interferes with Physical Health
Poor mental health can negatively affect our physical health and vice versa. However, many schools pay more attention to teaching physical health, focusing on things like nutrition and exercise.
In the US, most school systems emphasize the importance of physical education in children’s lives. These systems recognize how physical health education can impact children’s futures. Yet, they often fail to place the same importance on teaching about mental health.
Many children never learn about managing their mental health. Consequently, they are more at risk of developing adverse physical conditions as they get older. For example, poor mental health can lead to chronic fatigue and insomnia. It can also lead to increased inflammation and abnormal levels of stress hormones.
Suicide Is the 2nd Leading Cause of Death in Children and Adolescents
The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) report that around 1.4 million people in the US attempted suicide in 2019. Even more shocking is the fact that suicide is the second leading cause of death in children, teens, and young adults (ages 10-34). Unfortunately, more young people die from suicide than heart disease and cancer.
Although 90% of people who die by suicide showed signs of mental illness prior to death, only 46% had been medically diagnosed with a mental health condition. This is another crucial reason for educators to teach children how to manage their mental health.
Societal Pressures from Social Media
Children need to understand mental health when they start using social media. Today’s world places huge importance on social media, especially in young people’s lives. On social media, children and teens learn unhealthy ways to talk, behave, socialize, and interact.
As children rely more on social media, their mental health can decline. High levels of social media use in children correlate with depression and anxiety. If children learn about mental health in school, they can make better social media choices, lessening the likelihood of developing these conditions.
Relational Development in Adolescence
While in school, children and teens learn how to develop relationships. They enter into friendships and romantic relationships and learn the foundations for relational patterns.
While learning about relationships, many experience mental health issues. Some of these include anxiety and depression when relationships end badly. Failed or stressful relationships commonly bring on these emotions. When relationships end, adolescents often lack the skills to deal with negative emotions.
Teaching mental health in school will enable them to build stronger relationships. They will be better able to identify emotional and mental states and cope with them when relationships end.
School Is a Stressful Environment
Children and teens spend much time in school, and it’s no surprise that schools can be stressful places. Students have to cope with exams, tests, forming and losing friendships. They also have to focus on their academic and career futures.
Children also have the stress of learning how to navigate relationships with authority. All this stress can lead to the development of mental health disorders. Teaching children how to manage their stress helps prevent mental health problems.
The Onset of Mental Health Disorders at an Early Age
Many mental health conditions develop during childhood and adolescence. There are shocking estimates from the CDC. One in six US children between 2 to 8 has a mental health, behavioral, or developmental disorder.
Additionally, 8.4% of children between the ages of 6 and 17 have had depression or anxiety during their life. Learning about mental health will encourage more children to seek help sooner.
Increased Risk of Substance Abuse
The link between poor mental health and increased substance abuse is undeniable. The use of drugs and alcohol is a way for many people to cope with their feelings.
If children learn about mental health in school, they will know how to better deal with emotions. This will result in fewer young people turning to drugs and alcohol as an escape.
Now You Know Why Mental Health should Be Part of Schools’ Curriculums!
Teachers and students should learn the signs of mental health problems. Schools need to realize that teaching mental health is important. Teaching mental and physical health together leads to better outcomes for children and adolescents.
Students’ mental health impacts many areas of their lives, including their relationships with other people and with drugs and alcohol. If children and teens learn about mental health in school, they will manage better in life.
About the Author: Elvira is the founder of worldcrutches.com. Because of her experience of fractures, she writes all variety of information about crutches. She enjoys running and reading because it relaxes her in her busy life.
Photo by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash
The opinions and views expressed in any guest blog post do not necessarily reflect those of www.rtor.org or its sponsor, Laurel House, Inc. The author and www.rtor.org have no affiliations with any products or services mentioned in the article or linked to therein. Guest Authors may have affiliations to products mentioned or linked to in their author bios.
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