Mental health should be a bigger focus in schools


Shikha Patel

According to the World Health Organization, half of all mental conditions start at the age of 14 (the same age teens start high school) and that most cases go undiagnosed and untreated.

Sydney Crum, J1 Reporter

It’s no secret that school can be very stressful. Between studying, after-school activities, and homework, it’s a lot to handle. This constant stress can lead to many mental health problems for teenagers such as depression and anxiety. This is why I think we should provide more help for students struggling with mental health issues in school. 


One reason is that mental health problems are very high among teenagers. According to the World Health Organization, half of all mental conditions start at the age of 14 (the same age teens start high school), and that most cases go undiagnosed and untreated. Having accessible mental health services and having these issues discussed at school would help more students get help as soon as possible.


Another reason that schools should provide better counseling is that some students might feel uncomfortable talking to people at home about what they’re struggling with, adding to their stress. Since kids already are going to school, it’s accessible and less hectic to schedule than normal therapy. Although, if a student is truly struggling a lot they should definitely get set up with a more frequent counseling program.


One final point that can be made is that many teenagers feel too embarrassed, scared, or ashamed to tell an adult about what they’re dealing with. They’re at an age where fitting in is one of the most important things to them. If mental illness is talked about in a way that encourages more people to go to a counselor and feel safe telling them about what they’re going through, then it could help someone feel heard or even save a life.


Some people might argue that there already are counselors and different topics being talked about at school relating to mental health already, and they would be correct. There are already some programs and services set up in schools in Austin, but at least in my experiences at my elementary and middle schools, they aren’t the most effective.


 It was difficult to find a time to even talk with a counselor and scheduling an appointment seemed to add to the stress. Also, the closest thing to having a conversation about mental health was during the SEL lessons which most teachers didn’t even do. 


A solution to this problem could be to have a more welcoming and stress-free approach to having counseling appointments and always having someone available to talk. And instead of the current SEL lesson set-up, there could be a better way to have a conversation with teens and hear students’ thoughts on certain matters.


I believe that we need to change the way that we approach helping and informing students about mental health issues rather, so they can get the help they need easily.

*Also I would just like to note that my complaints only have to do with my elementary school and middle school, as I haven’t really been to school at Bowie yet so I haven’t had any experiences relating to this topic at Bowie.