Mental Health In Public Schools

Chelsee Hines, Staff Writer

When it comes to mental health in public schools, it’s not always handled in the best ways. 

A majority of the time the effects that mental health has on students is brushed off. Whether it be with a therapy dog, or a counseling group that most don’t participate in, public schools aren’t doing a lot. Other times when mental health is inaccurately advertised in schools using posters, and banners around the school. These few examples, along with more can unintentionally give off the wrong message to students, and in all promote self deprecating attitudes. 

Most kids do not know how to consult anyone about their mental health, and that may be because they don’t feel safe, or they feel embarrassed, along with the fear of getting rejected or shunned. This also might be on the teachers, because they don’t recognize that most children are struggling, and they don’t make them feel welcomed. Although most schools, including Howell High School have amazing groups that do help students, like the HOPE Squad, and the Lighthouse, we still have to acknowledge, and do more when it comes to mental health. When it comes to seeing the signs of someone who is mentally struggling, whether it be your students, or peers, you should look for major changes in behavior, and actions. Along with the behavioral changes, that would be just becoming more quiet, changes in eating habits, overuse in illegal substances, and extreme mood changes are the biggest factors to this.  

Most schools have messages around on posters, and banners spreading what they think to be positive messages. For example, in Howell High School, there’s a banner in the commons that reads, “Hardwork = Success”. While the main message of that may come off as positive, it can come off as a toxic message as well. This banner gives the message to the students that if they’re not to their standard of “success” then they haven’t worked hard enough. Along with that, success can just come naturally, to the point where most don’t have to work for it. That along with any other messages like, “Look on the Bright Side”, “Stay Positive”, and “Keep Your Head Up!” are all toxic messages that schools don’t recognize.

As must know, September is National Suicide prevention month. If you were to look around the room, someone has thought about, or knows someone who has thought about suicide. Thinking about all of the innocent lives that have been lost, with suicide being one of the most popular leading causes of death for teens, there’s not enough commercializng of resources. With that being said, here are some resources that could potentially prevent suicide, or help with mental health. 1-(800)-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Hotline, 800-662-4357 for Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services, and 1-800-931-2237 for the National Eating Disorder Hotline. Someone is always going to be there, whether it be a friend, family member, or worker, someone will be there.