Education is a huge part of everyone’s life. Whether it be English, Science, Mathematics or any other subject that you may find on your school timetable, education serves as a force for how our world continues to function. School is most commonly known as the place where people get the most education. All the way from pre-school to university, there are a huge range of things that get taught to students, however many schools are missing one important thing that they need to educate students on.
Students usually spend around 12 years of their lives in school before entering college and not being offered the correct education and awareness on mental health. The education system needs to work on introducing a strong curriculum about mental health issues to classes. Don’t get me wrong, learning about drinking, drugs and sexual contraception are very important but after being taught the same thing year after year after year, the subjects begin to lose their effectiveness.
Mental health education needs to be introduced when the students have reached the average age for puberty which is around 10 years old. Making this year 9 in the UK and 5th grade in the USA. Changes in a child’s body can become massive insecurities to some pre-teens, therefore leading to low self esteem, eventually resulting in a potential eating disorder and self harm. These changes cause a lot of people to be bullied, whether it be a boy growing facial hair earlier than the others, who a girl who’s breasts are developing faster than her other female peers.
Every single year, my middle school would separate the year 9’s to watch a video on how puberty works and what the changes in their body actually are. Perhaps if at this age, they are expected to grasp the concept of how their body will be changing, then why can’t they also be educated on the mental changes that may occur in the same timespan?
Far too many pre-teens and teenagers in this day and age are going through mental health issues that they could have received education on before these issues became significant, or even arose at all. If schools are able to offer students a place in which they can find confidential support or the correct education on mental health help, then this may also help reduce the numbers on so many statistics.
A majority of the time however, it’s because their parents or guardians do not believe how they’re feeling due to the stigma surrounding mental illness. They’ll turn to their 14 year old daughter and exclaim, ‘Its all in your head’ while she’s struggling not to let her depressive thoughts take over. ‘But.. can’t you just stop?’ they’ll question her when she mentions that she’s addicted to kissing her wrists with a thousand blades.
This type of stigma will continue to exist until we decide to all come together as a fighting voice for all those with any mental health issues. Admittedly, it will always be an issue that’s facing people around the globe, however if efforts are strong enough then we may be able to create a minimal problem rather than a large one. These type of stigma’s come from ignorance and can be fixed with the proper and correct education. Schools need to open their eyes and understand mental health education needs to be occurring worldwide.