Mental Health Is A Topic That Needs To Be Taught In Schools
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Health and Wellness

Mental Health Is A Topic That Needs To Be Taught In Schools

With over 40% of college students experiencing feelings of anxiety, and 36% with depression, it has become incumbent of colleges and universities to adopt mental health into their curricula.

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Mental Health Is A Topic That Needs To Be Taught In Schools

"Why do health classes teach us only about sexual education, when health encompasses so much more?" My friend asked me, as we engaged in just another conversation about how terrible the stigma behind mental health is.

I didn't have an answer, and I don't believe schools do either. If you're a college student, you probably have experienced feelings of anxiety, fear, or despair, especially during stressful times like finals week. You also probably have friends that complain of similar feelings, some of whom may be clinically diagnosed with mental conditions like generalized anxiety disorder (GAD).

The truth is, despite taking a multitude of Biology and some Psychology classes, I have never learned about mental health in an academic setting. The only sort of knowledge I have regarding the topic is from therapy sessions I have had, social media, conversations with friends, or documentaries. It wasn't until this specific conversation that I had with my friend that I realized this and the implications of it.

The majority of mental health conditions arise during adolescence due to fluctuating hormones, the brain's development during puberty, and exposure to detrimental situations like bullying in school. These situations, in combination with the heightened pressure to do well in school and your career, increase the chances of contracting debilitating conditions. As a result, the second leading cause of death in adolescents is suicide.

Earlier this semester, in one of my 300-level English classes, my professor abruptly ended our lecture on Structuralism. He informed us that one of the students in our class that only consisted of 20, now just 19, had taken his life a few days prior. It was the reason why he wasn't present last class. He showed us his obituary, gave us some mental health resources if we ever "felt like we needed them," and then told us the English department was heavily investigating the matter and would decrease the workload if they found a link. We were then dismissed, the 19 of us too distraught to even speak to each other as we filed out of the classroom.

The truth is, the student in my class was just one of the many thousand adolescent suicides that occur annually. The number of individuals who have attempted, but failed, remains unknown. Schools play an intrinsic role in many of these suicides, but they are hesitant to address this fact, most probably in fear of the effects on their reputation.

Students often prioritize their grades and achievements over their mental health, but the most saddening realization is schools do not care about the mental wellbeing of their students. If high academic workloads are going to be placed on young students, they should also be taught about the repercussions it can have on their mental health. Mental health should be a class administered to all students, regardless of major, and schools should be the ones enforcing this rule and bringing awareness.

Is it embarrassing that it is 2020 and the vast majority of schools refuse to educate their students about mental health? Yes. Is there time to make the necessary change? Yes.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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