In school, from kindergarten to twelfth grade, children and teenagers have their priorities instilled in them. We are taught to go to school, get good grades, do well in sports, stay physically healthy, and always do the right thing. But what if one of those priorities, that we have so well known, we start to lack in? What happens if we begin to fall behind? Like so many of us know too well, sometimes despite our best efforts, life can throw us a curveball. It is at this time that we are faced with the challenge of how to handle the obstacles and how they are to be overcome in a healthy manner. A problem then begins to arise when those individuals who lack the skills and knowledge to handle these situations begin to suffer from this. Through recent studies it is seen that mental illnesses are very common in the United States, for example, anxiety disorders affect nearly 40 million American adults (NIMH). If we are taught at an early age, not only the importance of the responsibilities previously mentioned, but of the importance of mental health and overall emotional well-being, our society would see the positive benefits in not only adolescence but through adulthood. I would like to present an initiative to implementing mental and emotional health education as a core component of school curriculum. This request is in the hopes to combat the overwhelmingly high statistics of mental illness from children to adults in the United States.
My whole life I have been taught the importance of physical health. That the key to a healthy life is a healthy body. Although I agree with this well accepted principle, I strongly believe that mental health is just as important as physical health. “Mental illnesses are medical conditions that disrupt a person’s thinking, feeling, mood, ability to relate to others, and daily functioning. Just as diabetes is a disorder of the pancreas, mental illnesses are medical conditions that often result in a diminished capacity for coping with the ordinary demands of life” (Kim Foundation). There are an overwhelming amount of mental illnesses ranging from general mood disorders that affect an estimated 20.9 million American adults to Schizophrenia affecting approximately 2.4 million American adults (Kim Foundation). With such staggering statistics, is it extremely evident that early detection of mental illness and mental health education and training, is imperative for the well-being of the American population. A study was conducted to see the lifetime prevalence of any mental disorder in the United State’s adolescents. This showed that from ages 13-14 41.7% were affected, ages 15-16 45.9% were affected, and ages 17-18 54.4% of adolescents were affected (NIMH). This supports my claim in that mental health programs need to be targeted at the youth of America in schools. A healthy mind set is a skill that needs to be taught, practiced, and reinforced at an early age.
There are many ways that you can go about structuring or creating the ideals and goals of this program. A sufficient base to refer to is Toward the Integration of Education and Mental Health in schools. In this abstract, it entails that the change, which is implementing mental health education into schools, will happen once a outline is concluded of what the program should prioritize. This includes: “the use of naturalistic resources within schools to implement and sustain effective supports for students’ learning and emotional/behavioral health; inclusion of integrated models to enhance learning and promote health; attention to improving outcomes for all students, including those with serious emotional/behavioral needs; and strengthening the active involvement of parents” (Akins, M.S). Having a strong, clear outline is a necessity to the success of this program.
As people, we always have the ability to change statistics. We spend so much time fixating on our material possessions and how we are perceived, that we often neglect our spirit and mental well-being. The ideals of a healthy mind do not come easy to some, and based on the previously mentioned information, it is apparent not to most. This includes myself because I am also apart of the statistics. As someone who in the previous year was diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, daily life has become even more of a challenge. I have self taught myself and explored the many routes to be taken on emotional well-being and healing. This ten month journey wasn’t in the least. My mission is to now show the importance of mental health. People are suffering and others should have the opportunity to see the many benefits of being educated on mental well-being. So this is why it is crucial that we start now, teaching children and young adults how to handle the stresses of life, finding peace within yourself and others, and becoming mentally equipped to overcome the many obstacles that all of us must face. Going forward, there is a great need for a more understanding, safe, and healthy society. If you, President, implement mental health education into schools, it will soon be the start to that.
"NIMH » Any Disorder Among Children." U.S National Library of Medicine. U.S. National Library of Medicine, n.d. Web. 25 Oct. 2016.
Atkins, M.S., Hoagwood, K.E., Kutash, K. et al. Adm Policy Ment Health (2010) 37: 40. doi:10.1007/s10488-010-0299-7
M [email protected]. "What Are the Causes of Mental Illness?" What Are the Causes of Mental Illness. The Kim Foundation, n.d. Web. 25 Oct. 2016.