Learning About Mental Health Should Start In Elementary School
Start writing a post

Recently, my timeline has been blowing up with gun-related topics and issues. On one side, you have people saying that guns kill people. Without access to some of these weapons, it would be harder to kill others. On another side, you have people saying that a killer will find a way to kill regardless of the weapon that is used and that mental health is the reason for these killings.

I can truly see both sides. There is such thing as that. In life, not everything is black and white.

However, I refuse to debate gun issues with anyone because I have never been in the position where I have lost a loved one to gun violence. I have also never been in the position where I have needed a gun in order to defend myself. I truly do not know how I would feel if I were to be put in these positions, so, therefore, I am open to any opinions about guns.

One thing that I do know is that the way America views mental health has to change, regardless of how you feel about the gun issue. In school growing up, you are required to learn about multiple subjects. You are required to learn about math, science, English, and history. You are also required to go to some type of gym class for a certain amount of time. In these subjects, you obtain knowledge that will carry on with your for the rest of your life.

Nowhere in my elementary or even middle school days did anyone ever touch the topic of mental health.

It simply wasn't in the curriculum.

So here you are. You have kids going through some of the most fun, yet most challenging years of their life. They are trying to find their identity. Some of the victims of bullying and some are bullying others. Some are struggling to understand why they feel so down on themselves and some are trying to figure out why they are so scared of the future. The words "depressed," "anxiety," "bipolar," and "OCD" are thrown around like baseballs on a baseball field. Do these kids understand that mental illness is a legitimate illness? Not only an illness but an illness that is highly treatable.

I remember in elementary school kids were almost embarrassed if they got diagnosed with ADHD. A lot of them would be shunned by classmates because they were "annoying." It made children feel ashamed of the problems that they were facing. Many of them viewed medication or counseling sessions as something "wrong" with them. It made them feel not normal. It was embarrassing.

I always ask myself how the world would be if people were not ashamed of their mental health. If they saw that something was wrong and they were able to go to the doctor to try and fix it, just like a cold or the flu. Instead, we are trained to believe that people who suffer from these types of illnesses are "different". Because of this they are shunned, bullied, and may even become bullies themselves.

The first time I ever had a class teach me about mental health was my freshman year of high school in my health class. We learned about it for a few days, going over anxiety, bipolar disorder and depression, and that was it.

Not once did they go over how treatment for many mental illnesses is very successful. Not once did they go over how a person with anxiety and depression truly felt.

Not once did they go over that these illnesses are not a person's fault.

Not once did they talk about obsessive-compulsive disorder and how not everyone with this disorder are "organized clean freaks" or "hand washers."

They didn't talk about how not everyone with bipolar disorder is evil and hard to be around.

They didn't talk about how people with depression don't always have to have the stereotypical "look" of being depressed.

They simply laid out three mental illnesses and the textbook definition of each, just like they would for a sexually transmitted disease.

They made it seem like it was something to be embarrassed about, which is one of the reasons why people do not seek treatment.

Why can't psychology classes be mandatory? Why can't young kids learn about mental illness, so that if they are ever struggling, they will be willing to seek help and get the proper treatment? Maybe if kids were more informed about mental illness, it would make them think before they bully someone else.

It starts with learning. It starts with recognizing that mental illness is not something that is made up. It starts with putting yourself in the position of other people. It starts when kids are young. It is very hard to teach an adult how to care about other people, but if we teach children, it is a skill that can be learned throughout the years.

Also, if you are someone struggling with mental health issues right now, I encourage you to seek help. There is nothing to be embarrassed about and you are not alone although you may feel like it. Treatment is highly successful and freedom from what you are dealing with is possible.

Mental health is something that should be taught at a young age, so people can grow up knowing that it is okay to not be okay. It is not embarrassing to sit in a counseling appointment if you need it. Maybe if this was taught younger, we would have fewer people bottling everything in for years and more people willing to seek treatment. Less suicide, less bullying, and possibly less violence.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Robert Bye on Unsplash

I live by New York City and I am so excited for all of the summer adventures.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

The invention of photography

The history of photography is the recount of inventions, scientific discoveries and technical improvements that allowed human beings to capture an image on a photosensitive surface for the first time, using light and certain chemical elements that react with it.

161858

The history of photography is the recount of inventions, scientific discoveries and technical improvements that allowed human beings to capture an image on a photosensitive surface for the first time, using light and certain chemical elements that react with it.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

Exposing Kids To Nature Is The Best Way To Get Their Creative Juices Flowing

Constantly introducing young children to the magical works of nature will further increase the willingness to engage in playful activities as well as broaden their interactions with their peers

1623925

Whenever you are feeling low and anxious, just simply GO OUTSIDE and embrace nature! According to a new research study published in Frontiers in Psychology, being connected to nature and physically touching animals and flowers enable children to be happier and altruistic in nature. Not only does nature exert a bountiful force on adults, but it also serves as a therapeutic antidote to children, especially during their developmental years.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

5 Simple Ways To Give Yourself Grace, Especially When Life Gets Hard

Grace begins with a simple awareness of who we are and who we are becoming.

1016277
Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

If there's one thing I'm absolutely terrible at, it's giving myself grace. I'm easily my own worst critic in almost everything that I do. I'm a raging perfectionist, and I have unrealistic expectations for myself at times. I can remember simple errors I made years ago, and I still hold on to them. The biggest thing I'm trying to work on is giving myself grace. I've realized that when I don't give myself grace, I miss out on being human. Even more so, I've realized that in order to give grace to others, I need to learn how to give grace to myself, too. So often, we let perfection dominate our lives without even realizing it. I've decided to change that in my own life, and I hope you'll consider doing that, too. Grace begins with a simple awareness of who we are and who we're becoming. As you read through these five affirmations and ways to give yourself grace, I hope you'll take them in. Read them. Write them down. Think about them. Most of all, I hope you'll use them to encourage yourself and realize that you are never alone and you always have the power to change your story.

Keep Reading... Show less
Entertainment

Breaking Down The Beginning, Middle, And End of Netflix's Newest 'To All The Boys' Movie

Noah Centineo and Lana Condor are back with the third and final installment of the "To All The Boys I've Loved Before" series

925900
Netflix

Were all teenagers and twenty-somethings bingeing the latest "To All The Boys: Always and Forever" last night with all of their friends on their basement TV? Nope? Just me? Oh, how I doubt that.

I have been excited for this movie ever since I saw the NYC skyline in the trailer that was released earlier this year. I'm a sucker for any movie or TV show that takes place in the Big Apple.

Keep Reading... Show less
Lifestyle

4 Ways To Own Your Story, Because Every Bit Of It Is Worth Celebrating

I hope that you don't let your current chapter stop you from pursuing the rest of your story.

604379
Photo by Manny Moreno on Unsplash

Every single one of us has a story.

I don't say that to be cliché. I don't say that to give you a false sense of encouragement. I say that to be honest. I say that to be real.

Keep Reading... Show less
Politics and Activism

How Young Feminists Can Understand And Subvert The Internalized Male Gaze

Women's self-commodification, applied through oppression and permission, is an elusive yet sexist characteristic of a laissez-faire society, where women solely exist to be consumed. (P.S. justice for Megan Fox)

388076
Paramount Pictures

Within various theories of social science and visual media, academics present the male gaze as a nebulous idea during their headache-inducing meta-discussions. However, the internalized male gaze is a reality, which is present to most people who identify as women. As we mature, we experience realizations of the perpetual male gaze.

Keep Reading... Show less
Lifestyle

It's Important To Remind Yourself To Be Open-Minded And Embrace All Life Has To Offer

Why should you be open-minded when it is so easy to be close-minded?

501606

Open-mindedness. It is something we all need a reminder of some days. Whether it's in regards to politics, religion, everyday life, or rarities in life, it is crucial to be open-minded. I want to encourage everyone to look at something with an unbiased and unfazed point of view. I oftentimes struggle with this myself.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments