Ever had a bad day? One where maybe you got in a fight with your parents, your friends aren’t getting along, or your teacher might just not understand what’s going on? What if this happens regularly, or your life poses even bigger challenges like living on your own, having a part-time job, saving for college, divorce, loss of a family member or even your own illness? When does the time come where you can’t take it anymore? How does that affect your schoolwork?
A Canadian study is looking at just that. Many students live with stresses that can seem uncontrollable and out of their reach. Having supportive relationships at home, school, and with peers can have very positive effects on how well a student is able to function in their everyday life.
“The survey-based examination of more than 26,000 students in Grades 6 to 10 is the latest in a series of studies since 1989-90 that takes the pulse of Canadian adolescents for comparison with their peers of the same age in more than 40 other countries.”
“We focused it on mental health for a reason," said John Freeman, director of the Social Program Evaluation Group at Queen's University and a study co-author. "Mental health is a large issue for Canada's young people right now. It's in our conversations ... it's in the news."
“Overall, the study found that more young adolescents felt their parents understood them, compared to studies in previous years, although about three in 10 believed their parents expected too much of them, generally and at school.”
Unfortunately, the effects of poor mental health, pressure of doing well at school and in other activities can push students over the edge.
Grades might significantly drop, attendance may become poor, and discipline may become an issue in some cases due to issues with mental wellness. Unfortunately with the stigma attached to mental health, students are afraid to step out and openly discuss their problems with a professional, a teacher or trusted family member or adult. Therefore, if students are unable to seek help they need, they could end up going down the path they never expected. This could range from dropping a class to dropping out of high school all together. Becoming depressed or addicted to drugs, development of eating disorders or anxiety disorders may also occur.
What can teachers, parents, principals, and councilors do to help students feel as if they have control over their school life and mental well-being? What can we do as students to remove the stigma behind ‘Mental Health’? There are many struggles life will hand out to everyone, but having the support when students are younger can benefit them in their adult life.