Posted by Madeline Head
Mental health is an important subject that is not addressed enough in this current day in age. In any certain year 1 in 5 adults in the U.S. – 43.8 million, or 18.5% — will suffer from mental illness. Also, 1 in 5 of our children from the ages 13 – 18 (21.4%) will suffer from a severe mental disorder at some point in their life. Even though our government knows these numbers; they do not push for mental health education in schools.
This is an injustice that affects millions of people. The average classroom size in the United States is 23.1 students. Roughly 5 kids in any given classroom will be struggling with a mental illness such as depression, anxiety, etc. The lack of education surrounding mental health can lead to at least 80% of these children not receiving help.
NPR discussed the issue of the public schools duty when it comes to mental health and education,
“Whether treated or not, the children go to school. And the problems they face can tie into major problems found in schools: chronic absence, low achievement, disruptive behavior and dropping out. Experts say schools could play a role in identifying students with problems and helping them succeed. Yet it’s a role many schools are not prepared for.”
There are only a few types of resources in regards to mental health education in schools. None of them are even remotely prepared or able to take on this type of education.
As a country we put so much emphasis on education. Yet, we refuse to implement any type of mental health education into our curriculum.
There is a massive stigma surrounding mental illness.
“Just because you cannot see my illness on an x-ray does not mean it is not real.”
The lack of education in this country surrounding mental illness is disheartening and deadly. Suicide in the United States is the tenth leading cause of death. But, suicide is the third between the ages 10 and 14, and the second between ages 15 and 34.
The absence of mental health education has led to devastation and an increase in ignorance to the mental health stigmas. If this problem is not rectified soon, then this destructive path will continue and more of our children will be negatively effected. Let us come together and demand that mental health education be put into our schools. Mental illness is real, it should be treated as such.