How schools can really help with mental health


Emmy Johnson, Online Editor

Mental illnesses and disorders recently have become something that schools focus on and, although awareness of these disorders is great, it’s clear that schools aren’t doing enough.

Training staff members to help with these illnesses and properly deal with breakdowns, reacting properly and accurately will leave students unpressured and more comfortable versus the usual yelling, untrustworthy, pressuring and condescending tone from staff members can guilt trip students.

This training should include stigma directed towards disorders like Bipolar Disorder, Bipolar Personality Disorder, Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Dissociative Identity Disorder as well and how to be able to break through it, preventing breakdowns and those with these disorders being able to relax without feeling crazy.

Training staff members will also include communicating, noticing red flags, self-love, breaking down stigmas of mental illnesses, acceptance and keeping private conversations between the staff and students along with creating a bond between them, keeping students comfortable. 

This goes hand in hand with safe spaces. Classrooms should be environments where students can develop their thinking skills while promoting self-love and calmness to prevent anxiety and depression. Safe spaces need to include check-ins, conversations, listening to others and making an effort to talk to students by bonding over interests. 

Students should also have a place to go whenever they need or want to. A wellness center on campus is perfect for people that don’t want to talk or visit a therapy dog. Alone time and independence can be exactly what students need.  Wellness centers that are designed by students and curated for them where they can go for naps, quiet, study time or even coloring will promote a safe space for growth.

According to Shawn Achor, author of The Happiness Advantage, “Focusing on the good isn’t just about overcoming our inner grump to see the glass half full. It’s about opening our minds to the ideas and opportunities that will help us be more productive, effective, and successful at work and in life.”

Students spend most of their time at school focusing on academic growth, so it would make sense that students’ mental health can be influenced by their school surroundings. This makes self-love and development go hand in hand— if someone has anxiety, this is most likely from the people and the environment they are in. 

If students are in an environment where it’s positive, comfortable and accepting they are more likely to be relaxed, learn better and develop in time for college.