Crusading for Better Mental Health Care: Mental Health Education in Schools

  1. 8
    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 taken).

    I really think that mental health education should be taught in schools (K-12) and in colleges, if they accept it. Does this have to be made into law to happen? Is this something that I need to write my legislature about? Do I ask the VDH? I did go to the VDH website and the program they have in regards to mental health is Suicide Prevention. That's what I am getting ready to embark on, if all goes well. But, I really think we need more.

    Not all cases, but some cases, suicide attempts/completed suicide are a result of underlying mental illness.

    I think like basics for elementary school:

    --what is mental health
    -- how do you know when something is wrong
    --basic coping skills/de-stressing/how to deal with conflict (this could even go for middle school)

    Middle School/High School

    --Conflict management/coping skills
    -- mental illnesses (i.e. depression, anxiety, personality disorders, bipolar, schizophrenia)
    --Tx/options for getting help
    --substance abuse education
    --Community Outreach/resources (this would depend on the community resources in an area)

    * Something else I think should be added, but probably no one else would agree with at all is maybe a wellness class/healthy habits for kids already on psych meds.

    So, how do we get mental health education in schools? Any ideas?
    Joe V, MedChica, Anoetos, and 5 others like this.
  2. Poll: Should mental health education be taught in schools?

  3. 33 Comments so far...

  4. 1
    I am not sure where you start, but am in COMPLETE agreement. It may even do a lot to deal with bullying issues which are usually related to mental health issues as well, not just the person performing the bullying but also how to cope when it happens to you.

    I did some reading a bit ago about how nurses are involved in the educational process in England. I really liked how they drive curriculum over there. School nurse redefined. Makes sense that it would be nurses driving health education in all aspects to include mental and sexual instead of a PE teacher trying to teach these subjects which happens very often over here. We are the ones, after all, that are responsible to the health and well being of our communities and it just makes sense. I won't be graduating with my BSN until early December 2013, but you can bet your bottom dollar this is at the top of my agenda as well. I would love to become more involved.

    Good luck and can't wait to read the responses you get.
    herring_RN likes this.
  5. 1
    Hi wish_me-luck, I sincerely wish_you_luck because what you are embarking upon is not only a monumental undertaking but also an arduous task. Your idea of spreading the word and creating awareness during children's formative years is absolutely commendable. Creation of awareness of mental-health (or actually, lack there of) will go a long way in removing the stigma and apprehension. The spectrum comprising substance abuse education, community outreach/ resources, depression, anxiety, personality disorders, BPD, and schizophrenia sounds just about comprehensive. This education will also nip many Columbine and Newton-like tragedies in the bud. With proper support, I am sure laws can be enacted and children can have their childhood back that the contemporary times have so ruthlessy snatched from them. Just one question: What is VDH?
    nrsang97 likes this.
  6. 1
    I commend your enthusiasm You can start by calling the schools in your area. Find out what the curriculums are, and who the people are in charge of developing/implementing them. Lots of school nurses work with school social workers and teachers in developing curriculums for total health. Start by finding out what is being taught in your local district- contact the local boards of education, principals, school nurses, etc. See what exists and can be built upon. Just my two cents.... Good luck!!!
    herring_RN likes this.
  7. 0
    Dear mama2,
    I think that is a great suggestion. Trust me, it's more than "Just my two cents".
  8. 2
    VDH= Virginia Dept of Health. I live in VA.

    I will see what the options are in schools. Like I said before, the plan is to start a Suicide Prevention Specialist job soon. The grant is for suicide prevention in younger people--kids, adolescents, and the like. I would be going to hospitals and physicians offices and doing suicide prevention training to health care providers. Someone else is doing the teachers in schools. I personally would like to do the school nurses, since they are actually health care providers. While I am there, I could see what could be done mental health education wise or what exists.

    I want a NAMI chapter also (yes, this will take a while to get everything established, if it ever happens.) So, I wonder if anything could be combined, like a joint partnership.
    Vishwamitr and VivaLasViejas like this.
  9. 3
    What an incredible gift it would be to society if children were taught early (and often) about mental illness! It is a fact of life, and I think it's a safe bet that every family on earth has at least one sufferer, whether diagnosed or not. Not only would such education help to de-mystify MI, but it might also decrease the bullying and stigmatization that are so rampant in our schools. Now, what could possibly be wrong with that?

    I know, I know, it all boils down to the almighty dollar and where limited funds are needed most. Perhaps it's time to stop deifying the sacred cow of school athletics departments, and transfer some of the money from their comparatively large budgets for programs that promote mental health awareness (and thus offer something of value to the majority of kids who don't participate in sports). Or, include it in the science or PE curriculum along with the usual required health/wellness courses.

    I think it will take at least another generation for mental health to be taken as seriously and funded equally as other human services; but it's got to start somewhere.
    herring_RN, Vishwamitr, and mama2 like this.
  10. 1
    They already have this. In middle school my classes were bombarded with psych questions constantly, maybe twice a year or more and there were already long lines of kids getting drugged. All their parents (poor and uneducated in that area) thought they had to comply and put them on these drugs for life. It was a huge business and the kids couldn't think when they're all drugged up no wonder they did so poorly on the state tests.

    Of course, private or charter schools and those with larger incomes are not as targeted or susceptible. You never see this at those schools - it is just targeting low income usually.

    From then on, middle school on... a child is bombarded with this, trying to get them on drugs. There are many times people come in to lecture, many vague open-ended questionnaires, much pushing.

    From what I saw it didn't make any difference and only made things worse, especially in this school. From going to a place without it to one with it, it seems to only enhance the problem and it even became a "hit" or "cool" thing.... increasing the amount of people thinking they had problems, more drugs, and more people then acting out even more. Not good. They are sucked in, unable to get out and less likely to be successful as a result (seen this happen), unable to think clearly, too many side-effects, no real problem to begin with, but sold a product with mere appeal to authority. If it is new, this is certainly a failed experiment from my first-hand experience.

    Quote from wish_me_luck
    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 taken).

    I really think that mental health education should be taught in schools (K-12) and in colleges, if they accept it. Does this have to be made into law to happen? Is this something that I need to write my legislature about? Do I ask the VDH? I did go to the VDH website and the program they have in regards to mental health is Suicide Prevention. That's what I am getting ready to embark on, if all goes well. But, I really think we need more.

    Not all cases, but some cases, suicide attempts/completed suicide are a result of underlying mental illness.

    I think like basics for elementary school:

    --what is mental health
    -- how do you know when something is wrong
    --basic coping skills/de-stressing/how to deal with conflict (this could even go for middle school)

    Middle School/High School

    --Conflict management/coping skills
    -- mental illnesses (i.e. depression, anxiety, personality disorders, bipolar, schizophrenia)
    --Tx/options for getting help
    --substance abuse education
    --Community Outreach/resources (this would depend on the community resources in an area)

    * Something else I think should be added, but probably no one else would agree with at all is maybe a wellness class/healthy habits for kids already on psych meds.

    So, how do we get mental health education in schools? Any ideas?
    elkpark likes this.
  11. 1
    It is in the curriculum under the discipline of physical education. But if it's not on a state test, it's not going to be a priority.
    NutmeggeRN likes this.
  12. 1
    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
    ZenLover likes this.


Top