As we know the stigma and lack of education about mental health is better today than it was ten years ago. We still need to educate the next generation in all aspects of mental health to stamp it out for good.
The best way to start educating future generations is within schools. If we can educate the children of today and tomorrow, then more young adults will seek help, and not suffer in silence. As a voluntary youth worker for the past 12 years, I know first-hand that teenager's struggle with the difficulties of adolescence as it is, without the added pressures of unknown mental health issues surfacing. Mental health surfaced with me many years ago and I didn't realise how depressed I was until I hit such a low point-crisis point.
We need to teach children in schools positive coping skills and mindfulness of the best ways to deal with depression when dealing with mental health issues. We need to talk openly about mental health. It has been reported that in 2030 it will be the biggest health issue for The World Health Organisation.
School prepares us very well for coping in the big wide world, if it was on the national curriculum we would all be singing on the same hymn sheet. If mental health was taught in schools, we would have the confidence that every child has the basic understanding of the illness, which at least one in four of us will suffer with in our life time. Teachers are well respected authority figures, that can openly talk within a safe environment aimed at adolescents to introduce projects surrounding mental health.
Children and mental health issues are growing faster than ever before, children are learning alarming quickly how to self-harm, this tends to happen when certain kinds of pressures and problems arise and build up.
Other areas as well as mental health that require urgent education and attention are:
• Eating disorders
Preparation in perinatal health for children approaching the close of education is vital, young mothers are suffering in silence, afraid to seek help due to the fact that they feel they are failing as a young mother. We need children to know the facts about perinatal health. Anyone can have a mental health disorder, but it can also be genetically passed down from generation to generation, If children know the facts they will feel more comfortable in coming forward quickly for treatment, preventing horrific devastation further down the line.
Education about PTSD is important and illnesses such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder also need awareness to be raised. With the right treatment all of these illnesses and disorders can be controlled, and people can lead normal lives following their treatment.
There is so much to learn about mental health and the subjects surrounding these issues.
Exams- Children suffer high levels of stress during exams, this topic alone is one that can lead onto mental health crisis. With the crisis teams already full, it would save the government both time and money, if education was already in place so that we can prevent the illness before it manifests into crisis point.
Let us be honest with our children and educate them so that they have the knowledge to educate their families for generations to come. I was thirty years of age when I first thought I understood about mental health, and I didn't know that I too was going through the illness until I hit crisis point. I was using destructive behaviour such as drinking excessive alcohol to try to deal with my emotions. I was once told that mental health is only a real problem when, it effects your life or others around you, well this is a problem for the one in four that go through this illness suffering in silence.
Education provides us with knowledge about the world so why not make mental health a part of this within the school curriculum. It will pave the way for great careers, giving people opportunities to work in mental as doctors or nurses. It helps build characters, leads to enlightenment and lays the foundation of a stronger community. Education can give the grounding to help others understand people going through mental health.
Kautilya an Indian philosopher, royal adviser and professor of economics and politics once said that "Education is an investment in human capital, and it can have a great impact on a nation's growth and development", let us make that impact, growth and development into mental health and let's start by doing it in our schools.