Crusading for Better Mental Health Care: Mental Health Education in Schools - page 2

by wish_me_luck

3,798 Visits | 33 Comments

Hey, So, everyone already knows I am all for an over haul in mental health care. I am going to be so busy in January, but in mid February, I want to try and get something started (after all my training is finished and gre is... Read More


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    Inf, I understand what you are saying. We didn't get that when I was in school though. I graduated high school in 2005. I am not saying an approach by psychiatrists or anything to drug kids or whatever. I don't think schools (as in teachers and administrators) should be involved in the treatment process. Just a place to be able to get the information out there and say there are options, mental illness is treatable. I don't know why kids would think psych drugs are cool--some of them have nasty side effects.

    I had a therapy appt yesterday. I told my therapist about the new DSM, how it just seems to increase ways to diagnose more people, not necessarily the fact of more people having mental health issues. She told me the whole idea is to try and catch those who are slipping through the cracks. I will admit, the people who have a severe problem mentally will not admit it and they tend to be good liars. But, I think if it gets at least one kid in treatment who isn't feeling right (I am not talking "my boyfriend dumped me" thing--that's situational anyway, which needs to be taught to kids as well. The differences between situational and being mentally not okay. Plus it needs to be taught the differences between expected life events and unexpected--I am sure, depending on peoples' coping skills, both can cause issues, but unexpected is far worse); we can start looking at the family dynamics. I feel like this is where you will get somewhere. Remember the "identified patient" and then, looking at family dynamics yields real issues.

    As far as physical education teachers teaching this--I am not knocking them, but I don't know how they are necessarily qualified to teach that...

    I don't know what is out there right now and it's something that I will have to find out, but something has to be done. You can't say "oh, we tried that and it didn't work" and then, never say anything about mental illness again. It's a problem...the approach before was wrong, I guess, but we can try different approaches. See what works and what doesn't.
    herring_RN, ZenLover, VivaLasViejas, and 1 other like this.
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    You don't understand they target low income people trying to make them think they have mental problems just because they are poor. These children were targeted for their parent's situations which weren't even their fault or even their parent's faults. The first time you walk in there it is "shut up and sit down" this place is to "get in and get out." They scream at you and like everyone else I didn't want to get stuck there.

    I saw children I knew get drugged up and shuffled out and they didn't even have problems. I knew exactly what was going on with the questions, trying to target as much as they can, and children were angry and hated the place. It was huge there. Everything on the list was already happening there. People who were normal then became drugged up and messed up. They are making up "illnesses" for what was actually "juvenile delinquency" and making up so-called "illnesses" just so they can drug them up because they want to control everyone there, well it backfired. It increased and everyone was angry. Children before who were fine became frustrated with the conditions.

    Some parents took their children out and put them in a private school. Here there was none of this pushing and the environment. I wasn't there long enough so see the complete effects, but the people who were put there seemed to improve to me in the nicer place.

    It's hard for middle-income people to understand what goes on in poor schools and poor areas. This was in another state, too, and in California at least in this area there isn't this horrible pushing. This was in Arizona.

    Quote from Anoetos
    infirmiere,

    The point is that the existing approach is ad hoc and haphazard and needs to be rethought and reimplemented in a more comprehensive and effective way.

    Slapping bandaids on things after they become problems hasnt worked.

    I commend the OP for her forethought and intention and I wish her the very best
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    I am not sure what is out there either, but from the research I did on sex ed it is probably the same. Grossly inconsistent and not being wholly taught to the individual or community's best interest. There are federal guidelines that serve to interfere more than guide or assist.

    I had a friend who's son (about 7 at the time) was told by his teacher to take him to "X" doctor and have him put on Ritalin. The teacher didn't know that this child had been going through some hard times. His parents divorced, he had been moved around and lived with this grandmother for a few years and finally his mother had him back. Very situational and he probably needed help, but not that kind. I was not in a position to do anything about it, but was very angry that the teacher took it upon her self to diagnose and give medical advice rather than speaking to my friend about the real issues she was actually witnessing. I knew nothing about the doctor, but strongly advised my friend against it. Instead she opted for family counseling and that worked much better for all of them, no drugs needed. The teacher had no interest in that...simply drug the student...and that was a magnet school.

    The mental healthcare situation in this country is sad. We don't cage people like animals anymore physically, but there are those uneducated people that prefer to cage them in their head with drugs. Very much the same, just easier to ignore and much more insidious. Educating our communities about mental health in more responsible manner would hopefully end this and for those kids that are mentally healthy they will learn how to interact with others or recognize symptoms in others that need to be recognized...without running around screaming drug him, drug him...but do so safely and respectively for everyone involved. For those that need to be on drugs, they obviously would do well to have additional support in the community as well since compliance is such a big issues. It won't cure every ill the world has, but an educated community is less likely to fall prey to myths and lies, which is what I think we suffer from now. My 2 cents anyway.
    herring_RN and VivaLasViejas like this.
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    Empathy training too. This would help with criminal behavior and bullying.
    herring_RN and Vishwamitr like this.
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    A) The schools are already overloaded and overwhelmed by all the non-academic content that has been added to their mandate over the years.

    B) I've been in child/adolescent psych for nearly 20 years, and, IMO, we have far too many kids in "treatment" that don't need to be already. The last thing we need is some school program drumming up more business for the child psych medication "educational-medical complex." Believe me, schools are doing a great job of pushing kids into treatment without any help from those outside the system.

    C) The idea about the special group/class for kids on psych drugs would never fly because it would identify and stigmatize kids who are on psych meds, information which is private/protected and no one else's business (not that there are that many kids in school any more who aren't on psych meds ...)

    D) I agree with the earlier comments about targeting poor neighborhoods and schools. I've observed for many years in the the US (and so have many of my psych provider colleagues) that, if you're poor (and have some kind of problem), you're "crazy" and need to be coerced/forced into treatment; if you're affluent (and have the same problems, or worse), you're just "eccentric," and are free to go about your business and cause as much damage to yourself, others, and society as you like.
    tewdles and InfirmiereJolie like this.
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    Ref: You don't understand they target low income people trying to make them think they have mental problems just because they are poor. These children were targeted for their parent's situations which weren't even their fault or even their parent's faults.

    Whoa Jolie,
    That is a pretty serious and unfounded allegation. Can it be proved beyond reasonable doubt? I doubt it. By the way, who are "they"?
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    I don't know about anyone else, but I personally am not talking about herding kids into doctors' offices and putting them on medications to make them conform to a school's idea of "normal".

    Years ago, when my now-24-year-old was in elementary school, there was more than one school official who told me I needed to get him on Ritalin to calm him down. He wasn't hyperactive, but he had a mouth on him and he was often noisy, angry, whiny, nervous, and fidgety. I steadfastly refused to do so, and took him to counseling for his anger issues and general lousy attitude toward life.

    Fast-forward 15 years, and that "hyperactive" and "disruptive" fourth-grader is now an honorably discharged U.S. Army veteran who still has trouble controlling his emotions, but is kind and loving. And I find it almost amusing that the teachers and school counselors who 'diagnosed' him way back when were 100% wrong: he doesn't have ADHD, he has bipolar disorder, a condition for which Ritalin could have had catastrophic results. Thank God I stuck to my guns and refused to have him medicated for something I knew he didn't have (although nobody knew then that he and I both were suffering from BP).

    No, what I want to see is a turning away from stigmatizing mental illness the way our society still does, and while it's too late for our generation, it isn't for today's school-age children. JMHO.
    tewdles, herring_RN, and wish_me_luck like this.
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    Quote from VivaLasViejas
    I don't know about anyone else, but I personally am not talking about herding kids into doctors' offices and putting them on medications to make them conform to a school's idea of "normal".

    Years ago, when my now-24-year-old was in elementary school, there was more than one school official who told me I needed to get him on Ritalin to calm him down. He wasn't hyperactive, but he had a mouth on him and he was often noisy, angry, whiny, nervous, and fidgety. I steadfastly refused to do so, and took him to counseling for his anger issues and general lousy attitude toward life.

    Fast-forward 15 years, and that "hyperactive" and "disruptive" fourth-grader is now an honorably discharged U.S. Army veteran who still has trouble controlling his emotions, but is kind and loving. And I find it almost amusing that the teachers and school counselors who 'diagnosed' him way back when were 100% wrong: he doesn't have ADHD, he has bipolar disorder, a condition for which Ritalin could have had catastrophic results. Thank God I stuck to my guns and refused to have him medicated for something I knew he didn't have (although nobody knew then that he and I both were suffering from BP).

    No, what I want to see is a turning away from stigmatizing mental illness the way our society still does, and while it's too late for our generation, it isn't for today's school-age children. JMHO.
    Dear Vivalasviejas,
    I commend you for sticking with your gut feeling; no wonder they say, "mother knows best". I can imagine how vindicated you must feel for refusing to be bogged by the "common knowledge" at the time. I admire mothers like yourself. By the way, what is JMHO?
    tewdles and VivaLasViejas like this.
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    I think all of you missed my point. There is nothing I want with drugs. What I am suggesting is education. Telling children about it, generally. For example:

    BPD: Tx is talk therapy/DBT
    schizophrenia: antipsychotics

    and on and on (Bipolar: mood stabilizers/antidepressants). That's it--not anything in depth on meds. I am not saying someone should go and assess kids at all. I am saying educate them and if little John or little Jane comes to their parent, school nurse, etc. and says "hey, I don't feel right mentally". Then, you can get a more accurate assessment and look at the family dynamics. If you are properly doing these things, it's fairly easy to figure out whether it's situational (i.e. divorce, death, etc.) or someone is mentally ill. There is no assessing in educating. However, I do think all kids K-12 need to learn coping skills. That is something everyone needs to learn.

    I actually think the number of true mentally ill (as in solely genetically mentally ill vs situational circumstances) is very low. We, as a society, do not have coping skills, we don't know how to communicate anymore, we tend to work long hours, more stress and expectations, etc., yet be composed and act like everything is peachy.

    Maybe I am not using the correct terminology for what I am suggesting. But, it has nothing to do with drugging kids nor does it have anything to do with assessing them in anyway. It's more educating them and correcting any misinformation that is out there and let them know that if they aren't feeling right or something is amiss, there's help. They don't have to keep it to themselves or deal with it alone.

    PS I was one of those kids who they said needed ritalin. My mom said no, I am still hyper as all get out, but it's fine. It's me. Some kids grow out of it, some people it's their personality and I am not harming anyone with my hyperness.

    Also, Inf, I am not from a low income family (middle class) and I have mental illness or was "tagged" as having mental illness. Maybe it's just where you are.
    Last edit by wish_me_luck on Jan 1, '13
    herring_RN and VivaLasViejas like this.
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    JMHO= just my honest opinion
    herring_RN and VivaLasViejas like this.


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