OJH Should Teach a Mental Health Class

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Coach Kellis’ fourth hour P.E. class is working on their physical health. Physical Education is the main health class every student takes. Adding mental knowledge into the mix will help develop the classes to make them more suited for students and help them work on their mental health.

Mental health has had a common stigma for years that it shouldn’t be talked about. Many believe children should not be exposed to an issue that exists all over the world. But according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness’ article on “Mental Health By the Numbers,” studies show that thirteen percent of eight-year-olds show signs of mental disease, and over half of all chronic mental illness begins at just fourteen-years-old. Students don’t acquire a mental issue, just by having awareness of it. OJH should make students more aware of mental illness by having a class.

As children get older, they are exposed to more problems everyday. Teaching them healthy ways to cope with stress, bad days, or mental slumps will prevent a big explosion of questions and curiosities in the future. Providing a class in school could be the easiest way for many students to access the information and help prevent further problems.

School counselor Mollie Wilson sees the stressers first-hand. “May is Mental Health Awareness Month and there will be some mini-lessons on different mental health related topics throughout that time.” said Wilson, “The most effective way to teach about mental health is not through having students listen to a lecture, watch a video, or fill out a sheet. The most effective way to teach about mental health would be if we were able to intertwine it with every class curriculum.”

Teaching mental health in school can be alarming to some. For one, it opens up topics that some parents or guardians might want to keep shut. Some people might argue that teaching mental health could be a personal issue for students and cause them to interpret their stressed feelings for something worse. For example, a controlled disagreement, where the anger is raised, makes the child believe they are getting over frustrated and not handling the situation well. But the point of learning how to cope is so that they do handle the situation well in the future.

I think coping skills are something everyone should have prepared to use. Coping skills should help you work through what is causing you to be sad,” said Mrs. Wilson.

Being able to cope and access the knowledge may help someone realize when they might be taking something overboard, and they can use their resources to help themselves. That information could encourage a student to go to the doctor, where they might be able to catch issues before any serious damage ensues.

Something I hear about a lot is that students will hear when their friend is suicidal and they don’t tell anyone,” stated Mrs. Wilson, “I really wish students didn’t take that burden on themselves.”

According to the World Health Organization, 300 million people all around the world suffer from depression, a main cause of suicidal thoughts or threats. Out of that number, 160 million are teens, around twelve to seventeen years old.

With a major issue like depression, consuming 160 million of the worlds teenagers, shouldn’t they start learning more about it instead of tucking it away like it’s a huge secret? Being open and honest could be the best treatment a teenager, or even adult, could have and potentially save someone’s life.