Emotional Breakdowns v. Education

Should teachers acknowledge mental illness?


Faith Jones

Junior Carlie Massey demonstrates how school and work can overwhelm students, leading to stress and mental breakdowns.

Faith Jones, Staff Writer

Giving presentations and becoming overwhelmed with assignments is common during a typical school day. Seemingly small parts of every day are triggers for students who are struggling with a mind of weak health. As students, we are obligated to deal with such stresses and breakdowns silently.

The Teen Mental Health article on mental disorders states that 1 in 5 young people suffer with mental illness. Imagine suffering and having absolutely no help available.

Students suffer with mental illness in and out of school whether it is convenient or not. School is a huge cause for chronic stress which leads students into feeling a sense of panic. They feel stuck because there is no escape from school.

A survey done by American Psychological Association found that 45 percent of teens said they are stressed because of school pressures.

Teachers should be trained to help students cope with stress and mental illness, or the school should look into hiring more counselors who are available at all times for students and teachers to give emotional and mental guidance.

Around 80 percent of students suffer with anxiety. Meaning that to some extent they are having daily mental battles. Getting out of the car and walking through the front doors, entering the seemingly inescapable walls of school is one of the many battles such a student faces. A student can endure any number of battles, making any presentation or social interaction difficult. If a teacher is able to recognize such an issue and interfere to help resolve it, a student’s quality of education could be significantly improved.

Depression doesn’t mean “sad”. Depression is defined as feelings of severe despondency and dejection. It’s self-doubt creeping in, forcing any person into a depressed state. It negatively affects how one fees, thinks and acts. It also causes lack of interest in activities. It is a disease.

When a student is diagnosed with an illness they aren’t typically expected to attend school and academically and socially perform as they would when in good health.

Why are mental illnesses treated differently? Depression affects someone just as much as the flu or strep throat. Schools have nurses on campus to assist those feeling unwell; there should be more help provided for mental health issues as well.

Chronic stress among high school students is becoming more and more of a problem.

The NYU study done on students’ stress and coping mechanisms in August of 2015 says that students experiencing high levels of chronic stress not only interferes with their mental health but compromises their ability to succeed academically. There is a large number of students that put pressure on themselves to academically perform perfectly.

Chronic stress, anxiety and depression only contribute to students, who were once top in their class and inspired to succeed at everything, becoming disengaged from academics and having severe mental health problems.

Offering help to students who are heading down this path and don’t even know it could change the world. Students could learn that they don’t have to succeed at everything and that trying their best is a huge accomplishment in itself.

Chronic stress would be reduced because they aren’t obsessed with being flawless. Anxiety could decrease because they aren’t distressed about not being good enough, or the best. Depression significantly reduces because the individuals don’t feel unsuitable because they weren’t the best.

They feel a sense of pride in knowing they did their best.  

Teachers getting involved in a student’s life can be tricky, but teachers aren’t the only solution to this problem.

The school could hire more counselors who aren’t meant to manage schedules and other issues, but to listen to the problems or students, teachers and staff to help them cope.