We need to talk about mental health

Theres+more+to+mental+health+than+what+meets+the+eye.

Photo Credit: Photo via Wikipedia under the Creative Commons License

There’s more to mental health than what meets the eye.

By: Arianna Hernandez, spring reporter

It’s time to break the stigma around mental health. More than 90% of people who have died from suicide had a undiagnosed mental disorder. Some mental illnesses are Clinical depression, Anxiety disorder, and Bipolar disorder. 

I feel that some people take mental health as a joke or as a way of seeking attention. We need to talk about mental illness in schools and make youth aware of mental health. This would teach youth how mental health issues truly affects those who suffer. We should make it so that those who suffer from mental illness don’t feel outcasted. Or like there’s something so wrong that they can’t talk about what’s going on.

Mental Health in Schools

Also, schools need to do more to accommodate and help students with mental illness. According to a NPR article on Mental Health in schools “in a school classroom of 25 students, five of them may be struggling with the same issues many adults deal with: depression, anxiety, substance abuse.” Sadly 80% of those students will not get the help they need. Teacher training in how to notice warning signs of a mental crisis would help. NPR article also explains “Educators face the simple fact that, often because of a lack of resources, there just aren’t enough people to tackle the job. And the ones who are working on it are often drowning in huge caseloads. Kids in need can fall through the cracks.”  Policies on missing assignments and grades should be modified for students receiving treatment for mental health issues. The focus should be to get healthy. Not get healthy while trying to pass all of your classes and make up all missing assignments.

Organizations such as National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) offer many different ways to help the growing epidemic. “NAMI advocates for the services and supports that schools need to provide school-based mental health services. These programs bring trained community mental health professionals into schools to provide mental health care or to link families to resources in the community. They provide access to services and supports and help reduce the confusion and isolation experienced by youth with mental health conditions and their families.” Another big help to mental health awareness is the Cast Center and celebrities such as Demi Lovato, Kehlani, Wilmer Valderrama and Lauren Jauregui. They are currently on a tour around the United States with Cast Center to talk about their experiences and bring awareness to mental illness.

Provide Information

Talking about mental health is a great way to bring awareness and so is reading about it. Brochures should be on hand in the Counseling Department for students to take that address mental illness and promotes coping strategies.  This allows for people to learn more about what mental health is and what those who suffer from mental illness go through on a daily. Another solution to the on going problem could be to have guest speakers present information about mental health or explain how they overcame their obstacles.

Laws Waiting on Congress

The Mental Health in Schools Act (H.R.2913) is a bill that would amend the Public Health Service Act. It was introduced to Congress on June 15, 2017 but has yet to pass the House or Senate. This Act assists local communities and schools in applying a public health approach to mental health services. According to NAMI, this bill provides federal funding to train school staff on mental health related issues. Also, the bill would establish comprehensive school-based mental health services creating links between schools and the community mental health system.  If the bill passes, school faculty and staff will be required to be trained on early warning signs of mental health.

Stigmas About Talking About It

Another issue is the stigmas surrounding talking about mental health.  The fear of talking about mental health comes from society not wanting to except the fact that people aren’t perfect. When people start talking about something it brings attention to it which shows that it’s a problem.