By Brooklyn and Conrad
Schools in the UK are not doing enough to help students struggling with mental health issues. These issues consist of depression, anxiety, self-harm, etc. In 2016-2017, statistics show that students do not feel satisfied in their school environment, with the amount of attention and help they have received in relation to their mental health state. This is because only 66% of students described their school as helpful and 70% of students said they have been experiencing negative feelings such as distraught, anger and fear.
Compass reporters have created a survey for teachers in Compass School asking them about their experience in managing mental health in young people.
The statistics say that 50% of teachers didn’t get any training in dealing with mental health. 50% also say that they haven’t helped a student with mental health in a school that they work in; 75% say that they worry about students’ wellbeing in their spare time and half of them think that only some of their students feel comfortable speaking to them about mental health.
Miss Stone, an English teacher at Compass School says: “In my opinion, mental health is not so much ignored as schools are ill-equipped to address the many issues of their students amongst the other duties that they have.” This statement is backed up by the statistic that states that 15% of schools in the UK have appointed student mentors to help with student health, instead of qualified teachers who can actually refer, if necessary, their students to specialists.
Students with disorders such as depression could feel trapped when they have no one in their school to talk to about their feelings. Also, students with anxiety could worsen their disorder by worrying about their state, instead of making their problems and dilemmas vocal. In the future, teacher training should include a course on how to deal with mental health in regard to their students and themselves. This would benefit all school with any students struggling with who they are, who they can talk to, and any tips on their current, previous or possible future state.
In a different survey of 700 diverse teachers conducted by the BBC, a quarter of the teachers said that they would not know who to refer a child with mental health to, a third of them had shockingly had no experience in dealing with a student who is struggling with mental health.
Another problem is the amount of trust and confidence that the students have in their teachers or staff at their school. Teachers shouldn’t infantilize their students by putting a censor on topics like depression, anxiety, self-harm, problems at home or domestic violence. By not putting a censor on these themes, they could prepare their students for any kind of problems they could face in their adult life.
To conclude, schools in the UK are definitely not doing the best they could be in dealing with mental health. Some ways we can help this problem is by teaching our teachers about the struggles and how to deal with them. Another way we can help is by making teachers more relatable and approachable.