Bethany L. Colorado

Mental Illness in the Education System

Mental illness importance in the education system

 Dear Future President,

            There has been an extreme increase in mental illness among teenagers in high school. Because mental illnesses have increased so much, the education system needs to educate, and raise awareness about mental health. Mental illness in teens, have risen 75% in the past 25 years. 1/5 teens  suffer from a mental illness, and only 50% will be diagnosed. If teens do not understand what is going on in their heads, then how are they supposed to reach out for help? This mental health crisis is a severe problem because the education system fails to teach about mental illnesses. The education system needs to make it mandatory that all 9-12 graders are fully educated and aware about mental illnesses. The education system needs to make the mental health and wellbeing of the students a priority.

            In most high schools, Health is a required course. This course typically covers sex Ed., STD's, childbirth, drugs, alcohol, and sometimes a short unit on suicide prevention. The problem with this is that this course focuses on one major mental illness, depression. While depression is the most common mental illness that affects youth, it definitely is not the only one. There are over 200 types of mental illnesses and so many of them are affecting teens. Some of these include, anxiety, bipolar disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, and many others. There are so many things going on in each teen's life, and many of it affects mental health. If a teen cannot identify that something is wrong in their head, they will not reach out for help and this can lead to suicide, complications functioning in society, dropping out of high school, or other problems. Mental health is very important, and the education system needs to be teaching about it.

           In today's world, High Schools are competing to see who has the highest GPA's, highest ACT or SAT scores, and offers more AP and Honors courses. In my high school, on just. Our every hallway and bathroom stall are posters, encouraging students to take more AP courses. While these courses seem to have promising affects, they are also a large contributor to unhealthy levels of stress in teenagers. The problem with this is that the education system is making the grades and the test scores a priority, over the mental health of the students. These hard courses are mentally wearing on students. The education system needs to promote the importance of mental health and make it a priority because it is hard to succeed in school when you are suffering from a mental illness, on top of stress, and other things going on in life.

            All mental illnesses are serious. With school stress, and life stress it is important that teens can get help. The best way to give them this help, is through school, as they are there 7-8 hours a day. Being a teenager is hard, and even harder when you are suffering from a mental illness, and you do not know where to get help. Mental health is important and should not be an afterthought. 90% of teens who commit suicide, had an underlying mental illness. Over 50% of students who have a mental illness either have a very hard time in school, drop out, or do not graduate from high school. These statistics need to be lowered. This generation who has been severely impacted with mental illnesses, is the next generation that will be a contributing member of society. It's so important that they can get there. The first steps are educating, treating, promoting, and prioritizing mental illness.