Is Improving Mental Health on Schools’ Bucket Lists?

TI-nspire CX II with the sentence “How can we help” on the screen.
TI-nspire CX II with the sentence “How can we help” on the screen.
April Kim

Societal standards for young adults have molded the expectations set by the school board for students. Due to the recent recognition of mental health in the media, school boards of  various states have begun to urge students to talk to the school counselor and take small breaks during class. 

Schools continue to remind students of the importance of a healthy sleep routine as well as communicating their struggles. Clayton High School recently began working towards creating a Wellness Center. A place where students can voice their struggles related to teen health and wellness. Although all schools, including Clayton, have been making more attempts to better support students throughout the year, they still enforce their expectations for students to maintain perfect grades, a presentable appearance, and amicable demeanors. To reconcile the discrepancies between societal expectations and the “performative” advocation of mental health, schools must re-evaluate how faculty interacts with students and thoroughly advocate the importance of mental health services. 

When a teacher comments on a student’s performance, they educate the student on the curriculum and negatively influence their perspective on their expectations. Some may argue that those comments prepare students for society’s harsh expectations; however, this may perpetuate society’s expectations by forcing the student to receive comments too early. Schools should re-evaluate the faculty to prevent teachers from harming students’ mental health with their actions or words. 

According to the Pew Research Center, schools must “provide for the fullest possible development of each learner.” However, many students prioritize good grades over understanding the content, and “61% of teens say they feel a lot of pressure to get good grades.” Unfortunately, colleges also prioritize grades rather than learning. The Graide highlights this by saying, “a student with a 2.5 GPA who retains everythi

61% of teens say they feel a lot of pressure to get good grades

— Pew Research Center

ng from their classes is less likely to get into Yale than a student with a 4.0 who throws away all their papers the minute high school ends.” 

Whether students prioritize grades because of their parents, aspirations or personal satisfaction, schools emphasize maintaining good grades by heavily enforcing deadlines and assigning large amounts of homework. Schools must refrain from enforcing the burden of grades on students and prioritize learning rather than forcing high achievement. 

Though some colleges provide counselors for their students, 47% say they could have used more support from their college during this time, and it was estimated that 7.4% of adolescents report visiting with a mental health professional over the course of a year

Recently, more schools have begun encouraging students to seek help from mental health services such as school counselors. However, a large number of students do not utilize the services. Insider Higher Ed explains that many students do not utilize counseling services because they fear admitting they have a mental health conflict and are uncertain if counseling will be effective. Because many schools already provide mental health services, schools must not only encourage but thoroughly reassure students of the benefits and safety of utilizing mental health services provided by the school. 

Students are the future. What students are taught and what they experience influences who they become. In the past, there has been a strong stigma against mental health. Although mental health is advocated more nowadays than in the past, students still struggle because schools enforce expectations that deteriorate their mental well-being. Schools must reconcile the difference between societal standards and the advocation of mental health to improve the well-being of students.  

If students’ poor mental health is not resolved, future generations will continue to suffer. 

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April Kim, Reporter
April Kim is a junior and this is her second year as a reporter for the Globe. During her free time, she enjoys playing the violin, drawing and writing poetry. April also loves money; whether that be saving it or spending it.
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