Mental health care in high school is no longer a pastime. According to the latest statics by the U.S. Surgeon General, one in five high school age students will be affected by mental health issues. These mental health issues include attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, autism, depression, eating disorders, and schizophrenia, to name a few. Unfortunately, mental health in high school has created major issues such as less high school graduates.
One of the roles of school teachers and principals is to provide self-care to the school environment. One of the most active proponents of self care is to provide a safe and nurturing school surrounding. By teachers and principals providing a safe and nurturing school surrounding the physical and mental health of students can show improvement. With effective communication and support issues such as teen suicide can be avoided.
Today’s Mental Health Challenges
School-based programs are developed and carried out by the school staff. With the current trend going toward academic only focus, support services such as school counseling, personal, social, emotional, and academic growth has been affected. Because of these shifts in the roles of teachers, counselors, and principals have a limited capacity to address students mental and emotional concerns.
In 2010 to 2011 school year, statistically, there was one counselor for every 471 students. The American School Counseling Association suggests one counselor for every 250 students. In 2018, the ratio of students to counselor continues to widen making available counseling to students worst. Unfortunately, many high schools today lack counselors, psychologists, school social workers, and other needed specialized support workers.
Budget Cuts In School-Based Mental Health Programs
The Individuals with Disabilities Act and the Elementary and Secondary School Act provide programs for comprehensive services in schools. However, since 2009 funding for these programs has been mostly eliminated. In 2009, federal funding for these programs totaled $800 million. By 2014, only $214 million in federal funding had been approved for these programs. For the current year, federal funding for mental health programs in schools is even less!
The Stigma Of Mental Health Issues
For centuries, mental health issues have faced stigma in society. This stigma is displayed by bias, lack of trust, stereotyping, anger, and total avoidance. Today’s mental health concerns do not have a high priority in the school system until it is too late. By the time these issues can be addressed, campus shootings and student suicides have ensued.
Death By Suicide
In children from ten to fourteen years old, death by suicide is the third leading cause of death. In children from fifteen to nineteen years old, death by suicide is the second leading cause of death. Recent statics show that one in every five high school students have considered suicide. In total, two to six percent of all children have attempted suicide.
What Can We Do Today?
The statics on suicide by teenagers and children is, to say the least, alarming! Schools, teachers, parents, and our society need to unify in their efforts in self care for students in today’s world.