By: Meelan Mohsin

Mental Health is a triggering topic for most, a misunderstood topic for some, and an important topic for all.

What is a Mental Illness?
Mental Health is often a triggering topic for many. However, there are so many students not getting the help they need. We all need to have a better grasp on how this impacts students.

People believe that Mental Health disorders such as depression only comes to people with horrible home lives or triggering memories, but that isn’t true. You can be the happiest person in the world with a fulfilling life then BAM, depression hits you like a bus! People that have mental illness are often misunderstood as well. There are cultural stigmas associated Negative consequences such as vulnerability, dehumanization, and frustration reveal that being misunderstood has the potential to damage or destroy therapeutic relationships.”

How Many students In The School System Are Affected?
Approximately 1 in 5 youth aged 13–18 (21.4%) experiences a severe mental disorder at some point in their life. For children aged 8–15, the estimate is 13%. 1.1% of adults in the U.S. live with schizophrenia. 2.6% of adults in the U.S. live with bipolar disorder. So when students are diagnosed with mental illnesses schools are not prepared with the outcome on how students will act and perform in school experts say schools could play a role in identifying students with problems and helping them succeed. It’s a role many schools are not prepared for. “Educators face the simple fact that, often because of a lack of resources, there just aren’t enough people to tackle the job. And the ones who are working on it are often drowning in huge caseloads. Kids in need can fall through the cracks..”

The signs
The signs to look for in students who are struggling with mental health are: 
confused thinking, 
prolonged depression (sadness or irritability), 
feelings of extreme highs and lows, 
excessive fears, 
worries and anxieties, 
dramatic changes in eating or sleeping habits, 
strong feelings of anger, 
strange thoughts (delusions) 
seeing or hearing things that aren’t there (hallucinations), 
growing inability to cope with daily problems and activities,
suicidal thoughts, 
numerous unexplained physical ailments, 
and substance abuse.

Ways We Can Help
Ways we can help the school system with students who suffer from mental illnesses are to create a school environment of general well-being, and a climate where mental health isn’t stigmatized.

Another way is when a student does show signs of trouble, one of the first steps is to talk with them. That conversation will dictate what happens next.

The last way is a doctor or therapist may get involved for the first time. Often, school plays a vital role in connecting the student to a clinic which will allow more access to support. These are the steps we must take to improve the school environment for students.

This article was first published on http://www.energyconvertors.org