The student news website of Omaha Central High School

Mental health should be taught in schools

March 25, 2022

For much of history, mental health has been disregarded. According to Hawaii.edu, it was believed that mental illness was caused by “demonic possession, witchcraft, or an angry god.” In the 19th century, Dorothea Dix made efforts for mental health in the United States. She led an investigation and found an underfunded and unregulated system. Dorothea Dix created the first mental asylum. 

A typical asylum offered very little treatment, and often kept people for decades. At Willard Psychiatric Center, one treatment was to submerge patients in cold baths for long periods of time. Electroshock treatment was also used. These conditions remained until well into the 20th century. Antipsychotic medications were introduced in 1954 and gained popularity in the 1960s.  

Adults today grew up in these normalized conditions. They were taught mental health is not important. It is only important when it is at an extremely bad level. When it gets to that level they were showed what happens to people who are mentally ill. 

Mental health is important and should be taken care of every day. However, adults learned the wrong way to take care of themselves. If children are not going to learn from their parents, the education system should teach children how to take care of their mental health.  

An estimated 31.9% of adolescents have an anxiety disorder. Nystrom Counseling identifies lack of confidence, fear of failure, and social anxiety are a few of the issues that arise when mental health is not given any thought. 

If students are taught about mental health they will be able to identify symptoms and care for them. They will not hide how they feel and will instead express it so they can deal with it.  

Conversations around mental health will let students know it is not a secret of a bad thing. It will also decrease stigma. Creating an open environment in schools will lead to students being able to handle stress in the future. 

Not all families can afford a therapist. Schools have a counselor but when they go home, students problems follow. Sometimes students feel they cannot take time out of their day to see their counselor or do not want to share how they feel with others. If students learn tactics at school to take care of their mental health they can handle it on their own. 

Adolescents being able to take care of their mental health will lead to reduction in anxiety, improved mood, clearer thinking, increased self-esteem, and improved relationships.  

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