Education experts focus on causes of mental health suffering in schools, push for solutions

Kathleen Kinder
Kathleen Kinder

Updated · May 17, 2022

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10-20% of children and adolescents have mental health issues. Manifestations such as attention deficits, cognitive impairment, lack of motivation, and negative mood negatively affect educational development. It is often difficult to know what school-related factors affect children’s mental development and what preventative measures and school-based interventions might be effective.

A panel converse at Binghamton University College of Community and Public Affairs focused on mental health issues facing students and teachers in schools.

When Rachel Murad picks up any social studies students at Maine Endwell High School who cannot keep their eyes open in class, they usually tell her that it was from a lack of sleep the night before.

Simultaneously, Murat asks how many TikTok videos the students saw the night before bed. Frequently, this is precisely what kept students awake so late. It is just one of the many factors that play into today’s students’ mental health struggles.

Students face growing mental health challenges: spending too much time looking at phone screens, not getting enough exercise or sleep, an unsound diet, bullying on social media, or even a hectic life at home. Its teachers also feel more burdened with the situations and obstacles that have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, although the roots of these problems have likely been building up for years.

Panelists focus on the root causes of increasing mental health issues in schools, including the hurdles that have forced teachers and colleagues to take better stock of their well-being and whether the pandemic had exposed the impact of other mental health factors that had been easier to overlook.

Laurie Bas Brown, a communal worker at the Middle East School in Binghamton, said her school district had support programs that could help, but hiring more social workers was also a necessity. The number of cases she has submitted recently involved about 60 students.

There are stress, anxiety, socio-economic issues, and trust issues, “We take care of our physical injuries, but we do not always care for them when you cannot see the mental injuries.

One of the major influences on mental health is social media, even among elementary school students. Murat tries to show students the responsibility and what gets posted in this public. What students see on a person’s social platform posts does not always show a real-life condition and is often an excerpt. This can easily cause young people to have negative perceptions of their own lives.

What we have to do for our mental health, we need to pass on to our students and society. The stigma surrounding mental health is easing, and a more productive discussion of how to support students and their teachers has grown in part due to the harsh lessons of the pandemic. A solution cannot be achieved without the families of the students and the school working together.

“It used to be just about referring students to mental health services or a clinic. Firstly, there are not enough initiatives to do that, but there’s a whole world beyond, so we recognize the greater need for that support. We’re all under stress, and I will not say the stigma is gone, but we’re hearing more about mental health literacy, and schools are paying more attention to social and emotional health and how to support students.

Kathleen Kinder

Kathleen Kinder

With over 4 years of experience in the research industry, Kathleen is generally engrossed in market consulting projects, catering primarily to domains such as ICT, Health & Pharma, and packaging. She is highly proficient in managing both B2C and B2B projects, with an emphasis on consumer preference analysis, key executive interviews, etc. When Kathleen isn’t deconstructing market performance trajectories, she can be found hanging out with her pet cat ‘Sniffles’.