STUDENT VIEWS: Can we stop the silence?

COLOR cjh writer claireEighth grade students in teacher Allie Browe’s English Language Arts classes at Clarkston Junior High School are writing activism articles in their argument writing unit, and we’re publishing some of their top articles. This week, Claire Kostecki discusses mental health education.
If we would have learned how to cope with mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety, and OCD in high school, two out of three people wouldn’t suffer in silence.
“You’re faking it, it’s all in your head, don’t worry it’s just a phase.”
But for some, it can last a lifetime. If a health class had the extra minute to spare to talk about the effects of mental illnesses and coping with people who struggle, maybe we wouldn’t see scars on someone’s wrist or one day hear of a person we knew who committed suicide.
In order to realize the true extent of mental disorders, high school students should be educated and open to learning about the disorders’ full effects on people who struggle mentally.
Many adults would argue that mental health is not something important in our society, and students do not need to learn about it since it only affects certain people.
If they believe that emotional distress does not apply to their children, they will be unaware when a student feels depressed or anxious.
Denial may be evident to the teen because parents may not have been educated on this topic in school.
What people fail to recognize is the intensity that the illness has on the person struggling with it, let alone knowing how to treat it. They should also be aware that mental illnesses affect one in four people, reports the World Health Program.
Since many are uneducated on this topic, suffering from a mental illness is difficult, but coping with it is even more difficult.
For example, on social media, a teenage student named Caroline tweets, “So many students including myself are struggling with mental health yet mental health ed still isn’t on school’s curriculum?”
There are a high amount of students struggling, yet school districts still don’t teach or educate on the full effects of mental illnesses until the teens are diagnosed with the mental illness.
Thanks to social media, many teenagers are becoming more aware and educated on this topic, one that we cannot find in our schools.
Oftentimes people with mental illness are greatly mistreated in society.
For instance, “People with mental illness have been victimized for much too long. Schizophrenia distorts reality and makes it hard for the afflicted to function in society. People who act strangely may frighten others. Sadly, the treatments for this disorder have often been far worse than the condition itself,” Joe and Teresa Graedon write in The People’s Pharmacy.
We are becoming aware of the amount of suffering people go through in order to live their daily lives; this is completely unjust.
As human beings we should not tolerate this behavior and alienate people with mental illnesses. As the golden rule states: treat others the way you want to be treated.
We should treat each other with respect and support, including people who are depressed, have anxiety, or are suffering from another mental illness.
For this reason, health education curriculums should include mental health to spread awareness and the hope that our world can work together to help and save lives.
The awareness of mental illness should be apparent in school situations, so that we can see a positive outcome for people with depression, anxiety, and many other mental illnesses.
No child should feel invisible because they never learned to cope in school. In order to realize the true extent of mental disorders, high school students should be educated and open to learning about the disorders’ full effects on people who struggle mentally.

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