Students are facing mental health issues at alarming rates. Even before the COVID pandemic, these rates were increasing, however, since 2019 they’ve become a major cause for concern. Parents, teachers, and of course, students have been struggling more than they have in the past to balance their education, social lives, home lives, and their mental health.
Mental health issues are growing for everyone, especially for those who were already struggling before the pandemic. The negative aspects of the news, social media, and social isolation can lead to long-term mental health problems for adolescents.
Mental health struggles are nothing new for students of all ages. The numbers have been increasing for years. As school is where most students spend the majority of their time, it makes sense that that experience is impeding their mental health. Moreover, school is where most students receive mental health services if they have access to any. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than a third of high school students experienced persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness in 2019. That is a 40 percent increase in the last ten years.
Those struggles aren’t just sadness that impacts students’ lives. Poor mental health can cause lower grades, poor decision-making, and even poor physical health. When students, teens especially, face mental health struggles, they are not at a point where they fully understand how to cope or even communicate those struggles without guidance. Because of this, they often turn to drugs or alcohol, risky behaviors, and may end up in trouble with the law.
These issues are not contained in childhood or education. Most students facing mental health struggles continue to struggle throughout adulthood. In adolescence, extensive mental health problems can lead to anxiety, poor judgment, poor appetite and health, sleep disruptions, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder. To prevent and counteract these issues facing students worldwide, it is important to understand what is causing this increase in mental health issues.
Students are at an age when they are still developing the coping skills needed to function fully. Without guidance from adults, families, and doctors, they use unhealthy coping methods to face stress, anxiety, and depression. Individual circumstances, as well as worldly or societal emergencies, can lead to long-term mental illnesses for students.
For instance, the COVID-19 pandemic has become a major cause of distress. Students and teachers, as well as their families, had to readjust to a new style of learning and socializing while facing grief and fear. This sudden onset of changes paired with the unknowns of a deadly and contagious disease puts a lot of pressure on everyone, especially students. Students have increased stress in the best of circumstances, so this load of changes and worries led to an abundance of mental health issues in the past few years.
Facing such traumas by avoiding them through any means often leads to addiction, substance use, and long-term mental illnesses. On top of the pandemic, battling unorganized educational practices certainly contributed to the fast jump in students experiencing mental illnesses.
At the same time, many students, especially those from lower-income homes, had a new level of worry during the pandemic when many lower-paying jobs were experiencing layoffs. The uncertainty of the pandemic, the abrupt adjustment with schooling, and insecurity at home have all led to students struggling with their mental health. On top of that, with school being closed and having limited resources, any chance for mental health care was gone.
Students facing all of the stress of the last few years have only worsened the odds of seeking help for mental illnesses. Most of these students impacted don’t get the help they need until adulthood, if then. The seriousness of mental health should not be ignored. Mental health experts know that early intervention is needed to produce positive outcomes for these students. Promoting a healthy social environment helps students learn to focus on their mental health. They can learn how to work together with their support systems to get the help they need.
Rather than schools, professionals, and even parents, viewing mental health problems as an individual issue that is linked to the student’s inabilities to cope, the solutions need to be based on making changes at a higher level. The structure of mental health care needs to improve societally. Students need more one-on-one time with mental health staff and accessibility to quality care which can only be done at a higher level. When schools receive more funding, they can provide better options to treat students in need and prevent problems before they get out of hand.
Some ways to help students are:
Student mental health has been dramatically falling for years, but the COVID pandemic has only worsened things. The situation is not about how students handle trauma but how society and educational structures can best benefit the students and their mental health. Schools and parents have been falling short of providing the best care for students regarding mental health. Although the discussion of mental illnesses, acceptance, and awareness has grown in recent years, more work is needed to offer students access to proper mental health care. Students struggling with mental health are not at a point where communicating or even understanding their emotional and mental wellbeing is easy. It is even difficult for adults. Taking charge of mental health and making it a priority is key. Here at California Care Detox & Treatment, we want to help you. You can call us now at (949) 281-0632 to get the answers you need to help the students in your life.