According to the United Nations: “1 out of 4 people in the world experience a mental health condition in their lifetime, almost one million people die due to suicide every year, and it is the third leading cause of death among young people.” Don’t you think that is enough information to make schools notice that mental health should be one of the key points that they should focus on to make students aware of the tools needed to prevent these issues and help others?
Until now, the stigma surrounding mental health is present, with it still being a taboo subject in many societies. It has come to the point where we believe that it is okay to repress and hide our problems just so that other people don’t judge how we are feeling. It has happened to all of us at some point, that we feel excluded, unable, alone, and inferior perhaps, and for some reason society tells us every day that it is wrong to feel that way. Well, it is not.
Take a look at this: it is considered normal to, in conversations between friends, talk about things that we believe we did badly in, for example, tests, presentations, etc, but what makes is it so difficult for us to talk about something we did good, like getting a good grade on a test or being awarded a prize? Because it is seen as bragging. How does this reflect in society? We are learning to focus on our failures and our negative points, and we are not allowing us to celebrate ourselves and show happiness for what we achieve, and this has created what we see today, a generation in which negativity is more evident than ever, and in which cases of depression, anxiety, eating disorders, etc, have become a way too common.
This is why it is important to talk about mental issues in school, where most of these problems start to build up and where we spend most of our lives as teenagers. We cannot let ourselves feel threatened or unwell in a place where we should be able to spend the best years of our lives without all the expectations and obligations adults have. It is important for the school to take part in the well being of each student and to really be there for them whenever they need help and support because there are many cases in which people do not find this comfort at home or in their community. As a school, it is not okay to let students feel the need to be perfect all the time, happy, organized and stable, because that is not reality. Schools need to be a safe space to talk about what is really going on in the life of each student and to let them know that it is okay to not feel well and that there are many people there for them, because without this we are creating a generation of indifference where depression and repression will be growing more and more every year.
Schools are supposed to be the place in which students are educated to succeed in life, and success is only achieved when people are happy and comfortable with who they are. Teenage years are those in which personalities are consolidated and where personal issues can be harder to handle due to the hormonal changes and shocks in life as everything starts to change. And all of this occurs in school. Schools are the only places in which we can ensure that teenagers have what they need mentally, and in order to do this we cannot only focus on academics, we have to focus on emotions.
Society gets colder as time goes on, and indifference is starting to prevail, but if there is a place in which this can be changed it is in school. Let’s teach children to open up, to be kind, to listen to others. Let’s let them know that they are not the only ones suffering. Let’s teach them to be aware of what may be occurring to others and what they might be going through in order to form a generation of caring people who know how to act in this kinds of situations. Let’s give them tools so that they can rise from their falls and so that they can help others rise with them. Only like this will we improve society and make the world a better place.