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Addressing Mental Health in Schools
Each day students across the United States learn about everything from the makeup of atoms to the Boston Tea Party.
Students of all ages go to gym classes regularly to not only learn about the importance of physical fitness but also to help them get healthy physically. While these students can get physically fit and flex their brain muscles with a constant influx of worldly knowledge, mental health is one area in education that is often ignored. There has long been a separation between school and mental health in the United States, but between the rise in anxiety and other mental health problems in young adults today, many schools are trying to change this.
Utilizing Mental Health Programs in SchoolsAs a mental health facility in Florida, we know that good mental health often requires effort and not everyone understands what this entails or how to go about it. While there are schools that neglect mental health entirely, some people are stepping up and developing mental health programs in schools to try and help students.
Mental Health ProfessionalsIn the past, addressing mental health in schools was left to one under-utilized psychologist or a guidance counselor who may not be well-equipped to provide bipolar disorder treatment or help for other severe mental health problems. Now many schools have started to add mental health professionals to their staff in order to better meet the mental health needs of their students. One report found that from 1999 to 2009, the number of school-based health centers that had mental health professionals on staff more than doubled.1 With the growing concern of mental health in high schools and elementary schools around the country, these numbers are expected to continue to rise.
Allowing Mental Health DaysSchools around the country have started to allow students to take excused absences in order to focus on their mental health. These mental health days let students take time off from school for reasons other than a physical illness. The idea is that students who are overwhelmed, depressed, or struggling with other mental health problems have time to address these issues.
Mental Health EducationFlorida recently rolled out formal education on mental health in schools. These Florida mental health classes require students to partake in at least 5 hours of lessons on mental health and suicide prevention each year. Florida isn’t the first state to focus on mental health classes for students. Other states like New York and Virginia have started to mandate that all public schools include mental health education.2
Moment of SilenceAlong with the push for classes, several other schools across the country have started to implement a daily moment of silence. This minute or so of silence is supposed to be a moment of self-reflection for the students. Research has shown that taking five minutes to yourself several days a week to reflect can reduce stress and improve overall well-being.3 While these moments of silence may be less time, they could still have a positive impact on students’ overall well-being.
The hope is that these mental health programs in schools will decrease the stigma surrounding mental health, decrease teen suicide, and teach children better coping mechanisms that they can carry into their adult lives. Especially for students who have a family history of mental health problems or an unstable home environment, these programs can make help more accessible.
If you or your young adult struggles with mental health, our residential mental health facility may be able to help. We work with patients 18 and older who have different mental health disorders in varying degrees of severity.
Do not wait any longer. Reach out to us today at 888-280-4763 to begin.
- APA - Schools expand mental health care
- NAMI - States Begin Requiring Mental Health Education In Schools
- PsychCental - Got Stress? How Cultivating Sacred Moments Can Help