Health: It’s More Than Physical
When we think of health the first thing that often comes to mind is our physical health. Whether it is obesity or asthma, diabetes or dental problems, or injuries of any kind, physical health seems more visible or more pressing. But mental health is just as important. Like physical health, mental health challenges can range from minor to major, but regardless they are important to address and take care of.
Research gathered by the American School Counselor Association indicates that 20% of students are in need of mental health services, though only 20% of those students receive them. Disadvantaged students are at greater risk for mental health needs, yet they are less likely to receive services. Nearly half of students with untreated mental health issues eventually drop out of high school. (Other consequences of untreated mental health issues can include substance abuse, inability to live independently, health problems, and suicide.)
Of course, “mental health issues” is a broad term. It encompasses everything from hyperactivity to aggression, anxiety to addiction disorders. These issues can be short-term (stress over a deadline or situational depression due to a loss, for example) or long-term (including a serious mental illness like bipolar disorder or schizophrenia). Regardless, children and adults facing these challenges can need help. And schools are often one of the first places where the mental health needs of students are identified.
May is National Mental Health Month so we at NEA HIN want to share some resources with you.
- May 3 is Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day. This is a great time to engage your school community in a discussion on its mental health needs and concerns.
- Mental Health in the United States: 2010 from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration offers a wealth of data and information.
- School professionals such as counselors, social workers, and psychologists can help students and staff navigate difficult situations.
- For younger children, public television shows such as Arthur can help children learn how to manage their emotions.
For more information on mental health and wellness, particularly for school staff, please visit our website. And please let us know your recommended mental health resource.
Editor’s Note: This post is from our partners at the NEA Health Information Network (NEA HIN). Each month, we feature a new column on a topic related to school health. Through this effort, we hope to inform the public of important health issues that impact schools and offer educators and parents resources to address them.
Today's post was authored by Nora Howley.
By Darnyi Zsóka (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
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