Schools impact on students’ mental health

By: Grace Blumer-Lamotte

Many students struggle with their mental health during school. Some struggle with ADHD, anxiety, depression, etc. These struggles can affect their long-term education and health. Some consequences consist of affecting the students, others, their school, their communities, and the larger society.

According to the Suicide Prevention Resource Center, students mental health problems can affect a student’s energy level, concentration, dependability, mental ability, and optimism, hindering performance. Research suggests that depression is associated with lower grade point averages, and that co-occurring depression and anxiety can increase this association. Depression has also been linked to dropping out of school. 

I asked two students this question: “How has school impacted your energy levels, concentration, dependability, mental ability, and optimism?”

The first student was a freshman, and they said that “School is a waste of my energy levels. It puts a lot of stress on parents and the students.”

The second student was a senior, who said, “Throughout my years of education, I have only found one year to be easy and helpful on my mental health. And that year was elementary school. We learned a little and did not have 7 classes a day. I am extremely stressed out senior year with college applications and my grades.”

Another one of the consequences that mental health issues is that it affects others around you. According to the Suicide Prevention Resource Center, peers, family members, faculty, and staff may be personally affected out of concern for these students. Staff play an important role in educating students. They also play a big part in the students’ lives. I have had teachers that act like my own family.

Depression and anxiety can have harmful effects on relationships and work productivity. Roommates, peers, faculty, and staff also experience profound grief over student suicides and suicidal behavior.

I asked the same two students: “Has a staff member ever affected your education? If so, how? Was it a positive or a negative impact?”

The freshman said, “It was a positive impact because they help me with my work, while being a good educator.”

The senior said, “Most of my years of school I always had a favorite staff member I could go to for advice and help. I feel that staff members play a big role in students’ education.”

According to MPR News, up to one in five kids living in the U.S. shows signs or symptoms of a mental health disorder in a given year. So, in a school classroom of 25 students, five of them may be struggling with the same issues many adults deal with: depression, anxiety, substance abuse. And yet, most children — nearly 80 percent — who need mental health services won’t get them. 

Mental health is an important aspect of school. Whether you struggle with a mental illness or family issues at home, students normally struggle. There will always be something outside of school that distracts the student from their education.

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