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  • Daniela Fernández aka Strawberry Shortcake

Mental health is being destroyed by educational institutions

Health and the development of children in educational settings:

Every student’s mental health is distinct. Their experiences are based on their support at home and the resources their respective schools offer. It is essential to regard educational and mental health issues simultaneously because academic issues and emotional distress co-occur in children. The adolescent brain is well suited for completing the developmental tasks related to this period of development when young people are gaining independence, transitioning from childhood to adulthood, and discovering who they will be in the modern world. During early adolescence, simultaneous neurological, physiological, and contextual changes lead to dramatic changes in the brain.

In young people, psychological distress manifests as worsening behavioral problems. According to an article published by the Harvard School of Public Health, distress can take the form of “difficulty separating from caregivers or somatic symptoms such as aches and pains or changes in sleep or appetite. Older kids can also experience somatic symptoms, as well as fear, nervousness, stress, irritability, and hypervigilance.” In school, symptoms could include concentration and motivation troubles, or refusing to attend at all.

Classroom relationships are essential to mental health providers, educators, and students. Mental health providers consulting with teachers would be advantageous, as well as family involvement in schooling, especially in urban communities that have barriers to parental involvement. Promoting safe and productive peer-to-adult interactions creates structure for students to engage in classroom activities in healthy ways, while also likely protecting against the negative mental-health and academic effects of exposure to violence in the home or neighborhood. Confronted with the persistently ignored mental health needs of youth, schools have become the providers of children’s mental healthcare. But many schools lack the resources to offer these services and the expertise to manage them independently.

Balance: transitioning from school to summer and summer to school?

Transitioning from school to summer and vice versa can be a large source of depression or relief for students. In many communities, schools are the only accessible community resources available to respond to students' mental health issues, yet there are limits to the extent to which schools can manage divergent educational requirements, as well as maintain the well-being of the students and administrators. Schools should remain a primary setting for mental health promotion, given their importance in children’s lives; it is equally important that the community mental health workforce build a strong partner in efforts to offset the burden on school personnel. In some ways, the routine of school is comforting in that you do not have to improvise or innovate a schedule as a student.

The summer allows young brains to take a step back from commitments and have fun; however, in many cases, they can let go of too much responsibility. As a student, I am required to complete my work and attend my classes in order to benefit my future self. As a kid, in the summer, with no time constraints or homework, decisions can be difficult to make. Working a minimum-wage job takes time management and effort, yet, it is advantageous in the short term with instant profit. Being a student honors our human desire for structure and education while being a kid in the summer provides chaos to feed our adrenaline rush. Adrenaline is addictive to people of all ages. However, as a child, the risk is new and exciting with a lack of awareness of the consequences. School can be advantageous to our short and long-term lives, yet it is crucial to find a balance between work and play and between comfort and risk.

What can we as students do to reduce negative mental health effects in our lives?

Reducing chaos in your life may help your mental health. Both social and academic issues actively affect a student's physical and mental well-being. Various school factors negatively and positively affect students’ health. For example, the hour at which school starts can negatively affect our energy throughout the day, while seeing our friends at school is advantageous for our energy. Balance is essential to have a sound mind, including the balance between school work, sports, a job, and friends.

Students are the most important part of an education institution, their developing minds are in need of an encouraging and adaptable environment. Each aspect of an educational institution will perform its part in order to develop and influence the next generations of leaders.


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