School Affects the Mentality of Students

From straight A’s to suicides, mental health in students is something affecting lives all across the board. Children in schools have been struggling with mental health issues, and the administration should be finding better ways to deal with it.

Students who have mental illness are more likely to feel pressured and weighed down by school. The stigma around mental health is still high despite one in five children being likely to experience a big mental health condition in their school years. Kids end up overworking with things like school work, home life, and the pressure parents put on their children.

“Last year school work and homework stressed me out to the point of having multiple breakdowns, I was so scared I was going to fail a class,” junior Yadhira Parra said. 

Stigma surrounding mental illness is what causes the subject to only be addressed after high-visibility events happen, like a student commiting suicide or an increase in bullying. However, the more these issues are talked about the more likely it is to prevent these things from happening to students because they won’t feel so alone. The Child Mind Institute has reported that well over half of mental health problems develop before the age of 14, and 75% before the age of 24. Further supporting the claim that schools need to address this ongoing problem with a systematic approach with students being under their care five days out of the week. With school being the place students are forced to spend their time up until senior year there’s no easy way out of the bullying, especially no easy way to stop it once it begins. Highlighting the importance of creating a friendly and supportive environment to the best of an administration’s ability.

“My parents want me to have all straight A’s or else they won’t let me do anything,” sophomore Eryn Hudson said, “so if I don’t get an A on something I just go into a complete mental breakdown.” 

Students’ mental health isn’t only affected by school, however. Due to personal and home life issues, a student may not be able to complete school work at home or get things done. To them, school could be a safe place and no one would really know about their home life. The school should provide more safety and acceptance to these students struggling to get work done and getting things in on time. 

“My counselor told me everything was my fault when I went to her,” Hudson said. “Maybe they could check on the students every once in a while because she, like, checked on me for two weeks and then just stopped.”

The students aren’t the only problem. Staff and administration at school need to become more understanding that students can’t put all of their time and effort into school work when they may have things going on at home that might not be as good. Some staff telling students that everything is their fault, or pressuring them with homework and large amounts of school work at one time won’t improve a student’s mental state, it’ll only cause it to decline. 

“For the most part, it comes down [to the person],” junior Jaxon Andrews said. “Like, the administration can try all it wants to do something bright and wide for the entire campus like making better school energy and policies to help students. But it all comes down to if the teacher is understanding of her students.”

Of course, people can argue that students will just get lazy if teachers are more lenient on them, especially when not all students are going to be open about when something happens and they couldn’t have had a chance to do their work, or that lazy students will just use this as a way to be more lazy. However, opening up a parent-teacher workshop could help prevent some of this. Educating parents and staff on the importance of mental health in students could help prevent a lot of issues and let parents be more understanding of their kids while also giving staff a chance to recognize that not all students have a chance to finish things or that the amount of work some students are given can stress them out to the point they have mental breakdowns, or even drop out of school completely. 

“Our district is providing parent seminars, so that parents have an understanding because that’s also a big piece of it,” Principal Maresa Bailey said. “Sometimes parents don’t have an understanding and that doesn’t help, so it’s very, very important that we educate parents on mental health and let them know what’s available so that they can help their student in the best way possible.”

According to the Association for Children’s Mental Health, nationally over almost 50% of students with emotional or behavioral issues drop out of high school, which is the highest dropout rate of any disability group. Allowing more flexible deadlines and re-do’s on work may make the student more confident to turn assignments in. Not all kids can get the support and help they need from their parents, meaning school is a place they turn to for it. 

“What I want is that students have someone,” Bailey said, “whether it be another student or an adult, just someone that they can go and talk to because nothing is more frustrating, or more scary, or just more anxiety-ridden than being in a building all day with no one to talk to.”

Making school a less stressful and harsh environment for students will improve the mental health challenges some of them may face, allowing students more freedom and flexibility doing work will make the environment more comfortable for them as a whole.