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Mental health support in schools…

8 December 2020

by F

Negative mental health affects many teenagers in schools, however, I feel there is a lack of resources necessary to support these teenagers. Over the past number of years, it is obvious that the topic of mental health is being discussed more openly more and more and in schools as well. But although there has been an improvement around the stigma of mental health in schools, many students still struggle in silence.

Many schools for example lack even something as important as a guidance counsellor. This can then make it very difficult for students to talk about any problems they are struggling with as they may have no one in school they can go to. Students may not feel comfortable talking to a teacher about their problems. They may not trust this teacher or be too embarrassed. Teenagers spend the majority of their week at school, it is an integral part of their lives. School itself can have an impact on a teenager’s mental health. Exams, peers, and teachers can all cause stress and worries. Being a little stressed from time to time is all normal and part of being a teenager in school, however, they should not have to suffer alone if something is really bothering them and affecting them. Schools should provide a safe and comfortable opportunity for children to talk if they need, for example, a guidance counsellor.

I am in an all-girls secondary school. People may say I am lucky enough to have a guidance counsellor and when I hear this I get confused. I don’t think a guidance counsellor is something that you should be lucky to have it should be a necessity in all schools, and it saddens me to hear that lots of teenagers don’t have access to this resource in their school. Although I can see that mental health is being talked about more I think this doesn’t stop the fact it is a huge issue among teenagers.

I think especially for my generation with all the things we are exposed to on social media, mental health among young people is on the rise. For us teenagers we are exposed to so much on our phones. It is so easy to compare your life and situation with what people are putting up on social media. But of course, people can choose what they put out to the world on social media, and only show the best parts of their lives. These unrealistic lives and unrealistic bodies that we see so many times a day on our phone can have a huge impact on our mental health and self-esteem, whether we even realise it or not.

Talking about your feelings and thoughts is easier said than done, especially as a teenager which is a very confusing time in your life. Although parents can be a great support for their child, I think it is very important for children to have another outside person to talk to. And I think it is the school's responsibility to provide this for their students as school, other than home, is where they spend the majority of their time.

We always get told ‘it’s ok not to be ok’ but where do we go from there? Once a teenager acknowledges they are ‘not ok’, what do they do? Where is the help? I really hope the government start taking the issue of mental health among children more seriously and take some action instead of just talking about it.