I hope everyone is staying safe and healthy during this quarantine! Somehow, I missed a week, therefore, I will be posting both research rounds before Friday. Within my second round of research, I will be covering how school has positively impacted teenagers mentally through various courses such as Planning 10 and providing support systems like counselors and clubs.
Before we dive deep into this research round, personally, I have always thought our education system has tried their best in giving students the opportunities to seek help if they require it; however, there are anonymous help lines if you do need someone to talk to, websites and peers like myself who are here to help as well. Below I have attached some resources.
Thankfully, we are in 2020 and although we may be facing a pandemic, our education system has changed with the times and has taken the time to understand student’s needs. As we spend majority of our awake hours at school, it is common to experience some mental hardships where it be excessive stress or anxiety. Therefore, schools have implemented healthy living into our curriculum, quiet spaces to gather your thoughts, materials to assist students and families and prevention against bullying. (1)
Healthy Living in the Curriculum
Within Charles Best, planning 10 and physical education classes do cover mental health through teaching students about healthy eating. (1,2) I remember having to create a meal plan in my budget project following the Canadian Food Guide as well as within PE 10 recording our meals and discussing how to eat better to maintain healthy lifestyles. (3) As well as the cafeteria, having a very popular salad bar which is a very healthy alternatives to the burgers and hot dogs that are available daily. Also, within various classes we are taught how to cope and deal with stress with the increase in workload from grade 9 until grade 12. Teachers are easing students into the homework and transitioning from short lessons to sometimes lectures which prepares us for the future. Not to mention, teachers are there for students every step of the way so seek assistance if you need it. (1)
A quote I found very inspirational is “The whole school environment, including its individuals and their relationships, the physical and social environment and ethos, community connections and partnerships, and policies, are seen as important areas for action if a school is to promote health.”(2)
I find this quote very interesting because to be healthy there are many different aspects that must be taken into perspective and the mental component is only one part. Schools are trying to help students be prepared for the world and be well rounded.
All schools have counselors that are well known for course selection changes, but they are also great individuals to speak to if you are in need of help. This is called the “hidden” curriculum of the school because relationships staff and students build give specific students support and someone to rely on when they need it most. Since it isn’t outwardly advertised it is called hidden because each student’s personal issue is private and a good way to improve your mental health through talking it out with a trusted adult. (2)
How has it helped students?
Overall, by improving their mental health, students have seen results in their learning through academic achievements and lack of behavioural problems. They are now taking matters into their own hands and becoming responsible individuals. Studies have shown school has taught students important skills that will potentially help them mentally, emotionally and physically be stable for their future. (3) Also, knowing there is a support system available has decreased the amount of high school students showing signs of depression and low self-esteem. In general, although the long assemblies about bullying and drug usage may appear not relevant for your current situation, in the future, you may find yourself on a dark path, but through these programs, courses, and presentations, schools are trying to prevent these thoughts and urges to increase happiness and all students well- being. (4)
What Improvements Can Be Made?
Like most things, there are always small improvements that can be made to increase the success of the event. Personally, within Charles Best, it would be interesting if we had a big buddy program where grade 9/10 students are paired with grade 11/12 students for the entire school year and become their mentors. Similar to Big Brothers and Sisters, younger students who may feel scared, anxious or nervous within high school, would have someone to lean on and talk to. Together you would build a bond and partake in frequent conversations, club meetings and potentially some fun field trips. Unfortunately, we wouldn’t be able to implicate this club idea now; however, it could be beneficial to students in the upcoming years who may not feel comfortable conversing with an adult about their situation.
Well, that concludes this research round! Stay tuned this week for my next research round on the negative impacts the education system has on mental health.
Lastly, here are some resources that I mentioned above.
Comments are always appreciated and encouraged! J