A mental illness is a condition that affects a person’s thinking, feeling or mood. Such conditions may affect someone’s ability to relate to others and function each day. Young adults and adults will have different experiences, even people with the same diagnosis.With more and more young people being diagnosed each year, we need to introduce mental health into the curriculum.
Mental health is a serious issue in today’s society as one in five young people have a mental health issue or a mental illness. An alarming 50 percent of mental health conditions form by the age of just 14. There are many factors for young people having mental health issues such low self-esteem, low confidence, family break ups or tension between each other in the family and ill health. The difference between mental health and a mental illness is that a mental illness affects people’s way of thinking and their behaviour changes whereas mental health is mental wellbeing, like how we are feeling and our ability to show emotions.
Mental health is real and needs to be a comfortable subject to talk about, but some people can find it difficult to accept. There are a couple of ways to measure mental health in yourself by looking out for long lasting sadness, changes in sleep and eating patterns, extreme high and low moods or social withdrawal, the last one is an important one as it limits your ability to go out and have a good time with friends. The best thing you can do if you are feeling any of these symptoms is to check if you have any other symptoms and then seek help from a doctor. This could be you.
“People often say that a problem shared is a problem halved. Unfortunately I’ve learnt first hand that this is sometimes easier said than done when it comes to mental health. Having been diagnosed with Bipolar and Anxiety Disorder when I was 19, I spent 10 years never really talking about my mental health. During the course of 2018 my health gradually deteriorated to a point where, by the end of the year, I couldn’t work, had to give up my home and was in a very dark place.”
This person managed to recognise his mental health issue and saw a doctor and he talked his issues out and spent time with his friends, aiding him on the way up to a happier life. This demonstrates that recognising mental health problems and talking with someone can turn the situation around for you. We must also try to limit or cut out the factors that affect young people such as social media as we have seen the media destroy people’s self esteem, and it happens in schools and online with people attacking young people.
Would you know if someone had a mental health issue? Would you be able to understand? Would you be able to help them?
A teacher with training in mental health knew when something was up and this shows the impact of this and the help it made to a pupil.
“A few years ago, a student in my senior class changed drastically in a short period of time. I noticed that Melina no longer did her homework, and she didn’t even try on her essays. Previously meticulous in her appearance, Melina would come to school disheveled, wearing the same clothes. When I tried to speak to her, she was uncharacteristically distant and withdrawn. Because I had some training in mental health awareness, I knew Melina was in some sort of trouble. They discovered that Melina was depressed and suicidal.” The teacher was then able to get her the help she needed.
I think that this shows the importance of teaching mental health in schools as this one teacher had training and was able to recognise it in a pupil. Imagine if the whole school was taught about it, people could help others and talk about their issues, surely this is a win- win situation. The thought of mental health not being taught in schools is surprising if you look at the figures relating to mental health. It’s saddening that suicide is the third leading cause of death in 15-19 year olds behind accidents and diseases drugs and alcohol abuse.
If one of your friends or family is dealing with an issue the best thing you can do is talk to them about what is worrying them, and what they are thinking. If it’s at a stage that you think it’s a big issue speak to their doctor or a teacher.
You might have seen the headlines lately about Caroline Flack taking her own life. If you don’t know who Caroline Flack is she has presented the last 4 series of Love island and won “Strictly Come Dancing”, the main point is she seemed to have a good life was high in demand for tv scenes until she had a feud with her boyfriend which created tension between Caroline and the media.Before her death she had been attacked by trolls online and by the media for alleged allegations of abusing her boyfriend.
This may have been a factor in her taking her own life. Other celebrities such as Billie Eilish, Jesy Nelson and Dua Lipa all came to the media to speak out, highlighting that trolls are an issue and that social media can be toxic. It is sick as we have read in the news many celebrities have taken their lives, along with Caroline Flack, there is hit artist Avicii, Mac Miller and Juice Wrld. It is important to teach mental health in order to help recognise when someone is having issues. As in this situation if a friend or family member knew how to recognise if she had an issue, perhaps she could have still been here.
In conclusion, I think it’s absurd that mental health is not taught in schools, given the figures for teenage mental health and suicide rates that have been discussed above. We have also learned the benefits of teaching it as we saw that a teacher could help a pupil as they had training to better recognize and understand if a pupil was having an issue. Mental health is real and must be taught in schools.