Why Mental Health Should Be Taught In Schools
Having left school now, I hear two phrases quite a lot from my peers:
“When was I going to use that in later life?”
“I wish they taught us that in school”
Arguably, what is deemed essential teaching content in schools is not necessarily an easy thing to decide. Let alone how to distribute them either. I know many were completely against Religious Studies and saw it as pointless. I on the other hand relished the opportunity to think a little more hypothetically on a topic that I wasn’t being marked on.
Meanwhile, a major concern is all the essential parts of adulthood that were not taught in school. I’m talking all the really dull stuff like budgeting, mortgages, insurance, health checks etc. While these would have been useful, looking at society now I think there is a key area that should be taught to some degree (no pun intended) across all schools in some form; Mental Health.
This is something that can hit some people in life like an absolute train. Major life events can tragically strike at any given time, and peoples thoughts, feelings and reactions are by no means any easier to predict or control.
When I say teach kids about mental health, I don’t mean cram in the equivalent of the Psychology degree I graduated with and try get them to absorb that. I mean that kids should become aware of some issues and so forth that come with mental health.
Let’s not forget how crucial a time in our lives for shaping our future school is (to an extent), certainly the social interaction side of things, with how we perceive and develop relationships etc.
Currently I see no evidence to suggest that mental health is a compulsory subject in schools in the UK. This is a country where people with mental health issues often do not know what to do about them. Also, that seeking help is something to be ashamed of and there is a huge stigma that comes from their mental health struggles.
There is always someone who can help. If we can accept this notion then it is best that relatively, kids are made aware of this too. Nobody should suffer in silence. Cliché bullying messages I know. But what I’m really getting at here is that educating about mental health I feel can help with learning to take other people’s perspectives.
Secondary school kids should be able to conceptualize what depression, anxiety, bipolar etc. are so that they can recognize the substantial effects that they can have. This of course does open up a can of worms of “Is it right to give everything a label?” but my point is that some initial knowledge would go a long way surely.
School can be tough. For some there can be days where they just want the ground to swallow them up. And they won’t be the only ones thinking it either.
I’m not trying to compare it to other current school subjects saying it is more or less essential. But in a nutshell it is essential. Although in some cases there are no perfect solutions, the struggles of mental health can have life changing effects. So why not bring these into light as soon as possible. In a formal manner. Rather than letting kids post school come to their own conclusions about what mental health really is.
If everyone drew their conclusions from the media, TV and other external sources then we would well and truly be screwed, and those with mental health issues would also be none the wiser. That is why I feel this is something that needs to be imposed ASAP.