Crusading for Better Mental Health Care: Mental Health Education in Schools - page 3

by wish_me_luck | 4,145 Views | 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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    I think I get it. It should have been a part of general health education all along really. Basic coping, we are not all the same, this is what mental illness looks like and generalizations on treatment so that if you see it or need it yourself it isn't some big scary thing.

    I agree with the others on how some schools and their children are abused in the name of Mental health. There has been way too much pushing for "convenience" and in all reality the teachers probably need to be taught so that they understand why what they do is so incredibly dangerous. Guaranteed some fool has told them how they are the only ones saving these poor kids by pushing their parents to put them on Ritalin. I can't imagine teachers would injur their kids intentionally, but ignorance is a dangerous thing, add lies to it and you have a cocktail for disaster.

    Coping skills in regards to bullying and getting along is obviously needed...heck, this board could use it sometimes. LOL It might help to teach these concepts early and hopefully avoid workplace harrassment, etc later down the road.
    herring_RN and VivaLasViejas like this.
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    Inf, I am curious. What exactly are your opinions on the subject? Like are you against MH education in schools? Do you have a suggestion that hasn't been thrown out there yet?
    herring_RN likes this.
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    It would benefit. Just like physical health, mental health is important. I think yearly screenings would help.
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    Our schools have taught health education for years. Including 1 hour on Mental Health illnesses and community resources could be a boon. Just like some people with diabetes or hypertension can be managed with diet and exercise others need medications, often life long. Same with serious mental illness needing life long meds. Include message re not sharing medications!
    VivaLasViejas and herring_RN like this.
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    What about you all that are school nurses...do you think it would be a benefit? Do you see a need?
    herring_RN likes this.
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    Quote from elkpark
    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.
    My mother had some college in psych/child dev at a uc and she is one of the largest critics.

    She helped keep me away from it and removed me from the situation. I obviously told her about it.

    Quote from wish_me_luck
    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.
    They already have these talks on these topics about what each "disorder" is. After the questions they would have lecturers come in to discuss the various "illnesses" and which ones a person could have (which ones they probably had based on answers). They tell you to "answer honestly" during the questioning, of course. I knew what all the vague questions meant and which one's would label me with a disorder if I answered them a certain way because I already knew what all of the "disorders" were already (others probably did not/may have not, they were children after all, this was middle school). Everyone was angry about it because they were really targeting ALL of them because of 1)they were mostly poor and so were their parents, 2) there was "juvenile delinquency" at the school which would be good/easy to label as "illnesses" and drug them up, ect to control it... It just made them more angry, frustrated, and act out even more/hate being there/have bad side effects. It spread to others and they frequently talked about it all, even joining groups making it a "hit" ("You have a problem??? I have one too!!!" "What drugs are you on?!")... then there were the emos - short for emotional - (making it "cool" to be suicidal).

    Of course, I know what "hyper" means. It was another term used during that time because ADHD became an "epidemic" ... suddenly "everyone" had it!

    You may not be low income then, but I'm guessing this happened at a public school which had some low income children... I went to private school, charter/private schools, and online schools too (in two dif. states, dif areas) and they never had any of these programs or mention any of this. A couple of them had some children who were taken out of the public school who were "problematic" and placed there by their parents to get them out of the environment. They seemed to improve to me, become significantly happier and have better grades, and definitely didn't get worse. I think they appreciated being finally looked at as normal ("Wow, they're not labeling me, they're actually listening to me?!"). It's sad to tell someone they're normal and they to give you a surprised look. It's a calming effect.

    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.
    How about this... I was put into this one public school in 3rd/2nd grade and they said I need to "stay back a year" and get placed into 2nd instead. Then I was put into "reading" classes for children who needed "extra help...." (i.e., with special children). I said forget you, you are wrong, I make my own choices. This is a fantasy. Year later I go to a charter school (with nicer environment) and start getting A's, B's... soon reading entire novels in one day... we're talking 700-1000 page books. Score 110th percentile on some tests. 6th grade I returned to that same school and received the presidential award in excellence, only 3 got it. What a joke. 7th grade I'm taking college classes (only 2 and in computer - mico. office/web design, but w/e, still A's)... but now in "that" school I'm talking about... Almost get labeled with something, get angry and frustrated with the place like everyone else, yelling, and started to ect but too smart to get caught in the web (and parent wouldn't let it happen, either, took me out)... then yada yada yada I skip grade, go to CA, start anew in a better place, and eventually get to college with 4.0 (not inflated either, only 8 graduated with it and there were thousands grad last yr at college)... wow they couldn't have been more wrong.

    Fact or fiction
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    Inf, again maybe TX is doing a better job than where I live. But, I am telling you, we (where I live) did not get any sort of education on what each disorder is. We did not get any coping skills or anything. We did not get assessed for anything.

    The ADHD/hyperness thing did not, repeat did not, come from a professional--it was from the school. ADHD was "the thing" at the time and because I was hyper, they assumed I had ADHD. You are right, sometimes, they jump the gun. They were going to put me in the "slow class"/ special education and on Ritalin. Also, when this ADHD thing occurred I did not live in the same state as I live in now.

    I will be very brutally honest when I say this and I am not trying to be mean or accuse, just my experience...the only time I was ever assessed for any sort of mental health issue via a questionnaire was when I was on a psych unit. I don't know for sure about your past or any psych evaluations you may have had. But, that's my experience. It was called an MMPI and I was an adolescent, so it was the form for adolescents. I was on a psych unit though. Where were you when you took this questionnaire? If you did not take one, no offense, you have no dog in this race. You obvious are speaking on something you do not experience in.

    I, too, made A's and B's (some C's in an occasional class), was involved in activities, etc., graduated from college (3.4/4.0; but, after 7 years with some tough courses--Organic Chem, Physics, upper math, etc., I think it's good. I rocked my nursing classes)...but, all that said, I am a person and I do have emotions. I do not think I am anywhere as bad as they (the Boards, etc.) think I am. But, I did binge drink until I passed out (sometimes stopped breathing) and I am okay with seeing a therapist. I wish I didn't have to spend money on drug screens and could go shopping instead or save it for something nice, but it is what it is.

    Anyway, that is just my experience. So, if you have taken an MMPI like questionnaire, where was it taken?

    I don't think teaching mental health is a norm or national thing. That may be something done in TX, but I can tell you, we did not get that.
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    I'm in total agreement. This would be a great place for retired nurses to get involved. As a nurse who suffers from BiPolar myself, I can say that this may very well have saved me a great deal of heart ache during my teen years and young adult life.
    herring_RN and VivaLasViejas like this.
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    You know, it would be cool to run something through th medical reserve corps. That's throughout the country, they do take non-healthcare personnel but most is health care related, it's volunteer...what do you think? I am going to see what can be done...it won't be until after approval to work and I think I would want to get the idea of what they do and everything before springing it on them. But, it would be pretty awesome. I am just letting my thoughts run wild...don't mind me.
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    It wasn't in TX, it was in an Arizona middle school, I live in California now and have for many years now, in college now. If that is from my profile or something I just put that in there as you can put any place in there.

    I think it was in my history class. The teacher had a rep for being creepy. I know his face (older, white male), but I think they gave it out in more than one class than that. I remember them also saying that parents can choose to not have their children be tested (sign off on it), but otherwise everyone received the questionnaire. It happened in more than one class, I think they said it was "new" or some test. We were the lab rats.

    I'm just saying there are many programs about this already and for a long time (or short time for some people here) in schools. They say it everywhere (what is on the list in first post) and it is a huge business.

    If anything, there should be a self-empowerment strategy (i.e., you "can" do it, you "are" intelligent, you "are" strong, you "are" important, you "are" normal and "can" achieve what you want), with more upward-bound type programs, and more funding for struggling (public) schools. People shouldn't be segregated by intelligence/non-intelligence or personality. Each individual is important... (but try changing the system... very difficult). (I'm guessing there could be something like this... somewhere.. already being implemented, I just don't know where, maybe California, as Upward Bound is certainly here and other helpful "you can do it" programs)

    Quote from wish_me_luck
    Inf, again maybe TX is doing a better job than where I live. But, I am telling you, we (where I live) did not get any sort of education on what each disorder is. We did not get any coping skills or anything. We did not get assessed for anything.

    The ADHD/hyperness thing did not, repeat did not, come from a professional--it was from the school. ADHD was "the thing" at the time and because I was hyper, they assumed I had ADHD. You are right, sometimes, they jump the gun. They were going to put me in the "slow class"/ special education and on Ritalin. Also, when this ADHD thing occurred I did not live in the same state as I live in now.

    I will be very brutally honest when I say this and I am not trying to be mean or accuse, just my experience...the only time I was ever assessed for any sort of mental health issue via a questionnaire was when I was on a psych unit. I don't know for sure about your past or any psych evaluations you may have had. But, that's my experience. It was called an MMPI and I was an adolescent, so it was the form for adolescents. I was on a psych unit though. Where were you when you took this questionnaire? If you did not take one, no offense, you have no dog in this race. You obvious are speaking on something you do not experience in.

    I, too, made A's and B's (some C's in an occasional class), was involved in activities, etc., graduated from college (3.4/4.0; but, after 7 years with some tough courses--Organic Chem, Physics, upper math, etc., I think it's good. I rocked my nursing classes)...but, all that said, I am a person and I do have emotions. I do not think I am anywhere as bad as they (the Boards, etc.) think I am. But, I did binge drink until I passed out (sometimes stopped breathing) and I am okay with seeing a therapist. I wish I didn't have to spend money on drug screens and could go shopping instead or save it for something nice, but it is what it is.

    Anyway, that is just my experience. So, if you have taken an MMPI like questionnaire, where was it taken?

    I don't think teaching mental health is a norm or national thing. That may be something done in TX, but I can tell you, we did not get that.


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