EDUCATE OUR KIDS

Schools didn’t talk about Mental Health when I was younger, and they still don’t as far as I know. I don’t remember talking about depression, anxiety, anxiety, self-harm, or suicide. Do y’all think that’s messed up? I think it’s idiotic. I started feeling different when I got to middle school. This never-ending sadness formed inside of me that I didn’t understand. No one understood how it felt, or at least they bottled it up as well. I’m not sure what it stemmed from but it never went away. I wish I would’ve known what I know now back in middle school. It should have been something we all should’ve learned about back then. I know I was not the only kid suffering. 

In 2022, it became something that educators have started to focus more on. I feel like it was far from a priority when I was in school. It was hard for me to find a safe place to talk about the things I was feeling. We spend so much time in school as we grow. It is one of the best places I could think of to teach Mental Wellness. I didn’t get help until my parents found out I was self-harming. I hid it for a long time. Looking back, my mom finding me was one of the best things that could’ve happened to me. I think everyone should see a therapist at some point in their life. I am proud to say I’ve been going for most of my life. Therapy was an eye-opening experience for me. If I could afford it, I would still be going. 

Mental Health Education should start early in the school system. I’m not saying we should jump straight into suicide in elementary school…that would be dumb. Mental Health isn’t just about the different disorders and getting out of a dark place. Our mental wellness plays a huge role in shaping us as we grow. 1 in 6 kids aged 6-17 go through at least one Mental Health Disorder every year. Our school system has the chance to prepare our youth for the hardships you face that are on the inside. Making Mental Health education available will help millions of kids around the world. Ignoring Mental Wellness in children can hinder the way they grow, learn, and develop. There are more than six million kids that are diagnosed with anxiety or depression, and 1/2 of Mental Illnesses begin by the age of fourteen. We need (now more than ever) to educate our kids so that we can keep them as safe as possible. Opening up the line of communication at an early age will help kids navigate life with a little more clarity. 

Statistics of children 3-17 years old:

  • ADHD: 6 Million
  • Anxiety: 5.8 Million
  • Behavioral Problems: 5.5 Million
  • Depression: 2.7 Million

Mental Health becomes more and more important as the years go by. I think Suicide, Depression, Anxiety, and Substance Abuse should become more prevalent when we hit middle school. I started hurting myself at a young age, and I couldn’t figure out why I was doing it. It wasn’t until I started therapy that I started to understand that it wasn’t my fault. My therapist diagnosed me with Chronic Depression. My Mental Health changed over time. When I got pregnant, I started to notice my mood swings more. Looking back, I knew something was seriously wrong. It took me a long time to get help. I was so good at self-medicating, so what was the point? I want the kids of today to be aware of their feelings. I want them to feel comfortable speaking up without being shamed. I’m tired of people raising boys to not cry. The more our kids understand, the more they’ll know what to do when they start feeling different. 

Kids suffer more than we think. By keeping the line of communication open, you are making them feel safe. It’s our responsibility to make Mental Health a topic in our school systems. If we start young, the more they’ll be prepared for the hardships in life. Now, I’m not saying we fucking go straight to drug abuse and suicide in Elementary. I’m saying we slowly add to the Mental Health curriculum that is appropriate for the age group. Adolescents should learn about domestic abuse, substance abuse, and many other things. We should do the best we can to help our kids be able to navigate life better than we ever did. 

Here are some facts regarding Mental Health in Kids:

12-17 Year Olds (2018-2019)

  • 15.1% had Major Depressive Episodes
  • 36.7% dealt with feeling hopelessness and extreme sadness
  • 8.9% Attempted Suicide
  • 15.7% made a plan to commit Suicide

Treatment rate

  • 8 in 10 sought help for Depression
  • 6 in 10 sought help for Anxiety
  • More than half sought help for a Behavioral problem

States that have pledged to pay more attention to Mental Health

Illinois

  • Kids in public schools are allowed 5 Mental Health days each year
  • Schools in Chicago plan to invest $24 Million in support programs 

Nevada

  • Kids in public schools are allowed 3 Mental Health days each year

Florida

  • A school in Miami provided teachers with Mental Health awareness training and hired 30+ Mental Health coordinators.

Georgia

  • Atlanta’s public school system plans to screen kids from Pre-K to 12th grade on their emotional and social behavior. They also train their staff in trauma-informed practices.

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