Student Mental Health

Imagine this: It’s only Wednesday and you’re 16 assignments behind. You feel stressed and unmotivated to do anything. Maybe you’re dealing with things like anxiety or depression. This is the reality for many students. Student mental health is very important and needs to be talked about in schools more. 

For unfortunate historical and cultural reasons, mental illness has persistently been stigmatized by our society. This stigma is created by bias, distrust, stereotyping, embarrassment, anger, and/or avoidance. Talking about psychological and mental health issues is not a high priority in most schools. Additionally, efforts to address school-based services for mental health continue to be developed in a marginalized way. Schools must work with parents, children, and staff to discuss mental health in a careful and effective way. 

According to the Coalition to Support Grieving Students, death by suicide is the third leading cause of death 10-14 and the second leading cause of death for ages 15-19. Close to one in five high school students has considered suicide, and 2 to 6 percent of children attempt suicide. NASSP recognizes that in addition to diagnosed mental illness, today’s middle and high school students often experience mental health issues such as stress and anxiety, depression, ADHD, eating disorders, sleep deprivation, and lack of nutrition. Many students feel afraid to talk about their issues because they fear being judged or bullied. They also might not realize these feelings aren’t healthy and think everyone feels them, which is one reason why mental health education is important. 

Mental health has a direct relationship with an individual’s physical health, and their ability to do well in school. Counseling provided in schools not only tends to help the mental health of children but helps their academic outcomes as well. Both physical and mental health affect how people think, feel, and act on the inside and outside. Many students who suffer from undiagnosed mental illness are labeled as “not trying hard enough,” “stupid,” or a “troublemaker.” This is harmful because it can lower students’ self-esteem and may prevent them from reaching out. In conclusion, mental illness is a highly stigmatized subject that is not rare among middle and high school students, and can directly impact a student’s physical health as well as mental health.