“1/4 people will experience some kind of mental health condition in the space of a year”.
“1/10 children between the ages of one and fifteen has a mental health disorder”.
“This means that about 850,000 children and young people in Great Britain have a mental disorder”.
“Yet 75% do not receive the support they are entitled to and need”.
So why is mental health not on the curriculum in every school in Britain? Children and young people more than ever are suffering from mental illness. So why are schools failing to deliver the proper education to all young people about the signs and effects of mental illness and how to access the appropriate help if they are struggling?
I, as a 15 year old student who is currently in the British education system, can safely say that in the 12 years I’ve been in education, I’ve only ever had one lesson on mental health. One. We weren’t taught about the signs, what do to if we thought we were struggling with a mental illness, what percentage of young people did suffer from a mental health condition and that we were not alone. Why is this case? Why in 12 years of schooling is this the only lesson I’ve been given? Why is it that I had to figure out myself with no prior knowledge at the age of 13 that I was struggling with Obsessive – Compulsive Disorder? Why was it that I thought I was going crazy because I had no idea that other people struggled with similar things?
This has to change.
Drugs, alcohol and teenage pregnancy are all taught in school. All very important areas of life that have been given the time to be properly taught and educated to young people. So,why I ask, is mental illness not on that list? What can drugs, alcohol and teen pregnancy all affect? Our Mental Health.
I took this topic to Twitter and investigated what proportion of people were educated about mental health in their time at school. Here are some responses;
I remember learning a tiny bit in middle school, but not much. Not enough that it led to me seeking help any earlier.
Nope nothing at all…this really REALLY needs to change.
Nothing at all for me. I do plan to see if I can change that somehow, but I don’t know if I’ll manage it.
This is wrong that so many people, including myself, have not been sufficiently taught about mental health. What if that one lesson on eating disorders encouraged a young person to realise their symptoms and persuades them to get help before they fall seriously ill. What if that one lesson on depression made a young person realise that they are not alone and that there is support out there. What if that one lesson allowed young people to realise that mental health is not something to joke about. That people who suffer from a mental illness are not crazy and that maybe that one lesson will allow them in the future as adults to not contribute to the rising stigma surrounding mental health.
It is not only about educating the students, it’s about educating the teachers as well. Teachers themselves, should be taught about mental illness. There should be key training allowing them to spot signs of possible mental health problems in their students and be able to know how to take the appropriate action to allow that young person to receive the help that they deserve.
Why are these lessons not being given? How many suicides does it take for the school curriculum to realise that these are not just hormones or mood swings. Mental health is serious and it needs to be taught in school.
I am passionate about campaigning for this change because I believe that the education of mental health is one of the most important lessons we will ever learn in life.
Help make the change.