Research Round 1 – How Does the Educational System Affect Teenagers Mentally?

“How Does the Educational System Affect Teenagers Mentally?

Hey everyone,

For my first round of research on my new cycle, I will be exploring the basic mental effects of my continuing question “How does the Educational System Affect Teenagers?”. Similar to my previous cycle on the physical effects, school does provide students with many valuable skills; however, there are some downsides as well that we need to be aware of. Especially when mentally students are at risk, the symptoms may not be noticeable and teens may be struggling, but afraid to ask for help.

Therefore, in the round of research, I will be looking into…

  • What does mental mean?
  • How does it differ from emotional?
  • What are some mental issues teenagers face?
  • History of teenagers and mental health

What does mental health mean?

“Mental health refers to our cognitive, behavioral, and emotional wellbeing – it is all about how we think, feel, and behave. The term ‘mental health’ is sometimes used to mean an absence of a mental disorder.”

                    • Timothy J. Legg PhD, PsyD

Various different organizations and dictionaries have similar definitions; however, they all have the same general overview that mental health is the overall well-being of our brain specifically within the cognitive, behavioral and emotional areas and it isn’t directly linked to disorders or diseases. It can affect the livelihood of an individual through their relationships, and a balance of their ability to enjoy life while battling their psychological resilience. (1)

How does it differ from emotional?

Although mental and emotional health can commonly be mistaken for each other, mental health focuses on behaviors that relate to the mind or brain whereas emotional health addresses issues with the heart such as life trauma. (2)

Emotional health may be due to depression, anger, fear, stress, anxiety that could have been caused by an event that took place within their life that resulted in a negative outcome. It can be recognized in individuals who have extreme mood changes where they can be normal and within seconds have depressive manic behaviors. (2)

Mental health can also be due to the anger, worry, fear, etc, but are caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain that could happen naturally from genetics or abuse of mind-altering drugs. Different from emotional, people who are suffering generally are very quiet and tend to stay in the corner to go undetected by others. (2)

What are some mental issues teenagers face?

There are a variety of different illnesses and disorders teens face, however below are some common ones. (3)

Anxiety Disorder (General and Social) – fearful of different items (spiders, humans) that interfere with their lives. About 6% of children experience this disorder in their life. (4)

Attention-Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) – present in around 5% of BC students and it makes it extremely difficult for children to focus their attention and therefore they demonstrate impulsive behaviors and are harder to settle down / control. (4)

Clinical Depression – a very common mood disorder that affects 3.5% of young people in BC. Generally, affects their attitude and emotions, making them increasingly sad or irritated for long periods of time. (4)

Autism Spectrum Disorder – presents itself in teens who have difficulty with social skills, can have repetitive behaviors, speech and sometimes non-verbal communication. However, every individual with this disorder has a distinct set of strengths such as playing the piano or painting. (5)

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder – due to a traumatic event, teens might continuously re-live the trauma, have emotional numbness and tend to avoid places, sounds, people that relate back to the incident. They could also be very jumpy and have difficulties sleeping. (6)

What is the history of mental health in teenagers?

Mental health can affect anyone! However, now society is able to talk about the issues and create a plan to help people recover and manage their illnesses. It could be present in young teens who have a family history, new immigrants and refugees, teens within the LGBTQ community, and many others. Although it might appear as we have a lot of different mental issues now, there isn’t an indication that they weren’t present before, but concealed due to a sign of imperfection. (7)

Within this chart, we see that depression rates are increasing for the age group 18-24. But we are lacking the information (that will come in future rounds of research) that demonstrate to why they are increasing. Is it due to society’s acceptance that more individuals are coming out? Or are their new factors that can cause depression?



Thank you, everyone, for reading this first round of research! As always comments and feedback are welcome.

3 Replies to “Research Round 1 – How Does the Educational System Affect Teenagers Mentally?”

  1. Hi Lauren,
    You’ve chosen a very interesting topic this semester. I like that as this is your first post, you focused on all the base principles and information in order to further build on them in your next posts. You also write very clearly and your post was very organized which made reading it very enjoyable and informative. I think it may be interesting to look into not only how mental illness rates and awareness have changed over time, but also the causes of it. What from school is likely to be the root of mental illness in teenagers nowadays that wouldn’t necessarily have been, for example, 20 years ago? Moreover, you could look into how treatment for it has developed and is improving, in relation to the mental illness that teenagers may have from school.

    Some sources I hope you find helpful:

    I’m really looking forward to reading your next post,

  2. Hi Lauren! It was quite fascinating reading your post and seeing all the possible mental health issues teenagers are at risk of experiencing. I feel like north american communities have formed somewhat of a barrier against this type of education among students and it isn’t safe at all. While students may joke about wanting to kill themselves or about being depressed, conversations don’t tend to go any deeper into the issue and that isn’t good for anyone. The community of students are now desensitized to real mental issues because of this trend of being over dramatic and helps over shadow people that may be experiencing real mental health issues and need real help. I am looking forward to reading more about your subject in the future.

    Some resources you could use are:

  3. Hi Lauren,

    I truly love the topic that you have chosen to research upon. Its crazy how many people may be uneducated on the potential risk of these health issues, that are possibly even caused by our implemented school system. I have recently had a close family member be diagnosed with heavy depression, it was a shock to all of us. Looking at your research so far his past actions do relate to depression, of course none of us knew that and it is crazy how much they correlated. Overall excited to read your upcoming posts, possibly look into how a medical professional may be able to diagnose each type of disorder and how in your next round of research.

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