In my personal experience, mental health and school do not coincide very well. A problem that I’ve noticed that no one talks about is how schools handle mental health. I’ve seen many discussions on how school impacts mental health, but not how they handle it. School has never really been there for me, it was almost always impersonal. I’ve been to many counselors for many different things, as have my friends. The problem is that they either didn’t do much to help or they didn’t do anything to help me in the long run.
What my question is, why are we not taught how to handle mental illness? It’s not technically the entire staff’s job to handle it, so why aren’t there people who can? Easy solutions would be to either hire people who are trained to deal with this or to teach us how to properly manage it and yet neither are done. Sure, we have a couple of days a year when people come in to teach us about mental health, drugs, alcohol, healthy relationships, etc. They only reiterate the same things, and since it’s such a small portion of time, it has little effect. As we grow older, we need more resources. Maybe adding a class or two would help, or maybe it becomes a requirement for teachers to learn more about these subjects and how to properly handle them.
Something that would be beneficial to incorporate into our school is SEL, which stands for Social and Emotional Learning. It provides the knowledge to manage emotions, form healthy attitudes/identities, feel and show empathy, achieve personal goals, form and maintain healthy relationships and make responsible decisions.
One of the main tactics for including this curriculum in the classroom is reflection rubrics. These rubrics help students learn how to self-regulate properly, which is a valuable skill. It helps relieve stress since you know what you need to do and when.
I think that, over time, if we manage to add curriculums like SEL or require more training, we can achieve something far greater than what we are now. Not only will students be better overall, but they will also be learning invaluable behaviors and skills for adulthood.