Shining a Light on Mental Health

Mental Health Awareness has made its way into the spotlight via many different platforms over the last several years, including our education system.

This week, NBC News released an article (link below) reporting a change to the New York state education system this fall. On July 1st, mental health became a mandated component to be taught in health education for all elementary, middle and high school students in the state of New York. 

According to the article, the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry indicates that 22.2 percent of adolescent ages 13-18 are diagnosed with a serious mental illness. That’s over 1/5th of teenagers struggling with a serious mental illness! Many of whom, the article notes, are not getting proper support or treatment.

What happens when a young person with mental health challenges goes undiagnosed, untreated and most importantly, unsupported? They struggle alone, their mental health issues persist, often worsening, and all aspects of life suffer: relationships, physical health, education, jobs and overall well-being.

Due to the pervasiveness of mental illness and its significance in the long run, it feels monumental that schools are prioritizing mental health in the curriculum.

Although it’s fair to stay that as a society we have a long way to go to combat stigma, this change in our schools offers optimism for the future. And whether you have children in your life or not, I think we can all agree that the younger generation is the future. And it’s our job to invest and prioritize their wellness. 

Link to article: https://www.nbcnews.com/better/health/fall-all-new-york-students-will-be-learning-about-mental-ncna911031

Photo by Pim Chu on Unsplash