In an age where mental health and wellbeing is declining, it is vital that schools have some form of mental health support for its students. However, many schools still do not have enough resources for students, especially at public schools where hundreds of students may be clamoring to see one specialist. In light of Mental Health Awareness Month, here are 5 reasons why schools need more mental health resources.
- Schools have a duty to help students learn. The number one reason why schools exist is to educate and help students learn. Students cannot learn when inhibited by issues as acute as a passing, unfortunate event, or as chronic as depression or anxiety. If schools are to fulfill their mission, they must have resources for students’ mental health and well-being so that students feel more ready to take on the challenges of academic courses.
- School resources are free. For the most part, school mental health resources are free. Because low-income students are extremely at risk for developing anxiety and depression, having free mental health resources available is vital for their well-being. Otherwise, the cost of therapy and private counseling can far exceed what some student’s families are able to afford.
- Schools may be the only place with mental health resources. In rural areas especially, there may not be many options for mental health counseling. Schools may even be the only place where counseling is available. And in some cases, parents or families may be unwilling to allow students to go to private counseling, leaving school the only way for students to find help. Thus, schools need to take action and increase their resources in case there are students with no other options.
- School resources are much more accessible. Because students are attending school usually, having mental health resources readily available greatly increases students’ access to any sort of counseling. By having more mental health resources in school, educational institutions will save students lots of time and costly trips.
- School resources promote discussion and lower stigma. An increase in mental health resources at school, the institution where students spend the bulk of their social lives and growth during teen years, would help diminish the stigma surrounding mental health by making reaching out for mental health help more common and accessible. Schools could also take this as an opportunity to educate students on why there is an increase in mental health resources, and why it is important for students to take advantage of these resources and get the support they need.
By Jessica Jiang