Over the past several years, major strides have been made in our student’s education to grow their understanding of life skills. These strides include more rigorous steps toward teaching the importance of a healthy diet and exercise, but there is one glaring area of information that is not taught extensively: mental health.
Insurmountable pressure is placed on our children to succeed and figure out what career they want to have in the future and with growing student loan debt, it’s likely they will have to face owing thousands of dollars in order to obtain the career of their choosing. With the growth of the internet and technology, childhood and teenage years are not the same as they had been in the past, lending to further confusion in their lives. Children and teens need to know how to respond to stresses that come with living in this day and age.
Physical education is important because it teaches our children how to live an active lifestyle, which can in turn help with mental health, however it’s not enough. Our students need to know what the problems are they may face in their lives and how to face these problems.
One of the best actions we can take is to remove the stigma that is associated with mental illness and mental disorders. Unfortunately, our society places stigma on those afflicted with mental illness, however it is improving. In order to counteract stigma, we should be teaching our students the definition of the stigma that surrounds mental health and why they shouldn’t feel bad about seeking help in order to deal with their problems.
We are already aware of the consequences of not having a successful mental health education program in our schools. Students that struggle with mental health issues often get frustrated with their education and dropout of school, have issues with truancy and have a general feeling of inadequacy.
Students need a safe and supportive environment within their school where they are able to talk freely about their problems and get help they need when they need it. Our students spend the majority of the time each week at school and we need to educate on mental health.