Mental health: America’s silent crisis

More school resources needed for social, academic anxiety


Art by Erin Cavender

Mental health has become a growing issue among kids of all ages, especially now with the ongoing pandemic. Social media has become a safe space for many teenagers to share their struggles with mental health and to seek advice from other struggling teenagers. About 90% of young adults have turned to the internet for help with symptoms of depression, according to a 2018 survey conducted by Hopelab and the Well Being Trust. The study also found that social media has become a stand-in for seeking professional help. Mental disorders present themselves in different ways, but learning about and dealing with them is the real issue. This raises the question— how can students become more well-educated on mental health?
The most effective way to teach kids and teens about mental health is through school. Mandatory lessons on different mental disorders, anxiety/panic attacks, and suicide awareness would benefit students who are suffering, and possibly even save lives. In 2019, the Youth Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System found that 18.8% of high school students considered suicide, and 8.9% attempted. It is also proven that teen suicide is preventable when there is better access to mental health resources and when students can recognize the signs of depression and suicidal tendencies.
The implementation of mental health education in schools is also a step towards recognizing that school-and the desire to succeed-is often a stressor for students. School is where teenagers spend most of their time, and it’s supposed to be the place where they try to find themselves. This gets overshadowed by tests, projects, homework, etc, and the punishments that come from failing. Programs aimed toward helping students deal with school related anxiety can serve as an insight for teachers on how heavy workloads negatively impact their students and can help create an environment that doesn’t burn students out.
The conversation around mental health is still heavily stigmatized by many people. However, it is important to teach kids about what they are going through and to encourage them to seek help, even when they think they don’t need it.