This blog was written by Sadia Maqsood, Speaks 2 Inspire:
Mental health crises among adolescents have reached an all-time high.
The Children’s Hospital Association (CHA), along with The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), recently declared a national emergency in child and adolescent mental health. These organizations urged policymakers and healthcare providers to increase funding and access to mental healthcare services for young people.
Ideally, the best place to start is our education system.
Schools can provide the first line of mental health aid
Schools are a learning hub for young people. They offer a community outside the home, where the first signs of mental distress can be identified. As such, schools should be responsible for providing quality mental health education to students.
Many children and adolescents who are struggling with mental health issues are experiencing a lack of awareness and support. They may not have a safe space to discuss their mental health issues inside their homes. Schools can provide a space where students not only learn about mental health but also get to talk about it openly and receive the help they need.
Prevention is better than cure
Suicide rates among young people have skyrocketed, and that number continues to climb post-pandemic. National Alliance on Mental Illness reports that 20% of high school teens experience suicidal thoughts, while 9% have attempted to take their lives.
The sad reality is that most of these adolescents cannot make sense of the feelings of hopelessness, self-doubt, anger, confusion, and loss they experience. They lack the necessary tools to help them cope, so they view suicide as the only solution to their problems. By teaching children about mental health and increasing awareness early on, they will be able to identify and address the root cause of their struggles instead of blaming themselves. And hopefully, they will be more inclined to reach out for help when they are suffering.
It’s time to break the stigma. Let’s help cultivate safe spaces for our children to discuss mental health issues and give them the tools and support they need to thrive.
Connect with the writer, Sadia, on LinkedIn.
At Speaks 2 Inspire, we’re committed to raising mental health awareness among young people in schools.
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