(Image courtesy of High School Insider)
Hilda L. Solis Learning Academy

Opinion: The importance of schools raising mental health awareness

Schools should bring awareness to the children about mental health because being able to recognize and support all students matter, instead of ignoring it. Mental health disorders come in different forms, many of the common ones in students being depression, anxiety and suicide. It is especially important to help the students who are exposed to any mental illnesses to find interventions and strategies that work best for them.

Bringing awareness could better the chances of improving resilience and the ability to improve in school and in life.

Mental health refers to emotional, cognitive and behavioral well-being. It is about how people feel, think and behave. The rise among children and students today is depression.

Depression is a mood disorder that involves a feeling of sadness and loss of interest. This disorder can be caused by events in life that are major and impactful to an individual’s life, for example, losing a loved one or losing your home. Depression can last from weeks to even years.

According to the Los Angeles Times, by 2017, just over 13% of Americans between the ages of 12 and 25 had symptoms consistent with an episode of major depression in the previous year — a 62% increase in eight years.

Students who suffer from this disorder have a harder time learning in the classroom and at social interaction, both of which are critical for a student’s success in school. They are especially for children since it is harder for them to put into words exactly how they feel. It is important to help out these students and support them. If not, adolescence will find unhealthy coping mechanisms like substance abuse, smoking and even physical self-harm.

One way to bring awareness to children and young adults is for the schools to have a serious conversation with their classes on one’s well being and mental health. The importance of this conversation will help individuals better understand the responsibility of their self-care and the concept of recovery from mental health.

Another major mental health disorder students are going through is anxiety.

Anxiety disorders form a category of mental health diagnoses that lead to excessive nervousness, fear, apprehension and worry. However, this feeling of anxiousness can occur to anyone. The difference is how long and effective anxiety comes to play in your daily lives.

For example, a student who experiences anxiety before a big test is normal compared to a student who is anxious to participate in any social activities or stop doing the things they enjoy. Anxiety could also cause panic attacks, it may worsen as stressful events approach. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 7.1% of children aged 3-17 years (approximately 4.4 million) have diagnosed anxiety.

Possible strategies that may help students with anxiety include discussing what can be done in classes to reduce anxiety and stress. It’s important to bring awareness to students with anxiety in order to help them be successful in life and with their wellness.

A major yet sensitive mental health disorder that many students and young adults face in school is suicide. Suicide is a desperate attempt to escape suffering that has become unbearable. This topic is sensitive because it involves the thought of ending a life.

Raising mental health awareness in school is important so all students have an understanding of their well-being and how to have control.