Mental Health & Education

Nicholas Enoch

CCBC Essex

Articles reflect the views of the author and or those quoted and do not necessarily represent the views of CCBC or the CCBC Connection.

Medical experts seem to agree that mental disorders like depression and anxiety are very prevalent among students in schools today and that it has now become an epidemic across the country.

Students either in college or some as young as elementary age, are facing problems with mental illness. This has shown to have a serious effect as to why students may either be doing poorly at school or possibly dropping out. Kids and young adults alike face these problems every day, especially if they have been diagnosed with a mental disorder such as depression or ADHD.

According to Child Mind Institute, “Mental health and learning disorders are tied to higher dropout rates. The dropout rate for all students is 7%. For students served under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) it is 21.1%. For the subset of students served under IDEA with emotional disturbance, the dropout rate climbs to 38.7%.”

If these problems aren’t faced early with intervention, there could be a case where that percentage could be drastically increased and more students with these disorders are more likely to drop out.

Children and teenagers confronting these types of obstacles can often face tougher times in school. Instances such as being in disciplinary action with teachers and professors, lower test and course grades, and even possibly dropping out, whether it is being expelled or leaving by choice seem to be more prevalent. Students choosing to drop out or who have been expelled can also develop more difficulties in the future in various other aspects of life.

National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI), recorded a statistic that states, “Over one-third (37%) of students with a mental health condition age 14­–21 and older who are served by special education drop out—the highest dropout rate of any disability group.” This age range of student is most affected with mental illness due to moving on to high school or going on to college and facing tough challenges along the way.

Students with these types of mental illnesses may struggle with doing well in classes, making friends, or feeling wanted by other people. This would happen when students are moving on to high school since teenagers at this age are often trying to find themselves and who they want to be. As stated above, mental illness is very apparent in college as well and many institutions are still trying to find ways to accommodate their students.

According to NAMI and Chadron State College, “Almost 73 percent of students living with a mental health condition experienced a mental health crisis on campus. Yet, 34.2 percent reported that their college did not know about their crisis.” With college students, the pressures of grades, earning an associate’s, bachelor’s, or master’s degree, making friends, while also maintaining a job may lead to a higher percentage developing high anxiety, depression, or even suicidal thoughts.

Teachers, parents, and counselors should look more in-depth about how the student is feeling and talk to them about resources that may help the student get back in the right direction. It is important for students, especially facing hardships like mental illness and other obstacles, that there are people that are willing to help them.

There are resources, like hotline numbers, professionals, counselors, and even your parents that can help you and lead you to keep fighting, stay in school, and finish your education strong.

Note: This is the first article in a 4-part series about Mental Health and Education.

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