Hi everyone!  I’m so excited to be doing my last and final round!  For those of you who forgot my inquiry question is :  with this new generation, should we be changing how and what we are teaching in school?  In this round I will be focusing more on the mental health side, contrary to my other rounds.  I will be looking into some statistics concerning this, the mental issues we face at school and what we can do

The most common mental health issues we face are:

  • Anxiety
  • Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Conduct disorder
  • Depression
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Psychosis
  • Schizophrenia
  • Eating disorders
  • Suicide(1)

Next are the symptoms at which you or a teacher can diagnose a child with a mental health disorder.  Being aware and able to notice the symproms is a crucial part of mental health education.

  • Sudden changes in a student’s moodor behavior
  • Frequent mood swings
  • Behavioral problems such as aggression, temper tantrums, or lashing out in school
  • Poor academic performance
  • Poor hygiene
  • Frequent absences
  • No longer participating in extracurricular activities
  • Isolationfrom peers
  • Difficulty paying attention in class
  • Excessive worryingor anxiety
  • Hyperactivity
  • Difficulty relating to others
  • Somatic complaints (stomachaches, headaches) with no clear physiological cause(2)

 

Statistics show that, one in five kids in Ontario have mental health problems.  This is around the same as 1983, however certain age groups had an increase.  For example, emotional disorders rose 9 per cent in 12 to 16 year olds, to leave us with 13 per cent of them having these.  As well as the need for professional help with 18.9 per cent of people, three times more than in 1983.  Another interesting statistic is that it is found that people living in small to medium sized communities struggle with mental health more, which is a large shift from before, when it was found to be living in cities for younger people showed more issues.(3)  Around 80 percent of kid ages 6-17 who struggle with mental health issues do not get the help they need and deserve which is just such a scary thing to think about. 

Mental health can affect in class learning and social interactions.  These components are crucial to the success.  That is why having help for students facing mental health problems is important to the outcome of the child’s learning experience.

Some problems we face is getting the help needed in schools, getting them to realize the “role it plays” in their child’s problem and having action put into place to help.  Each child is different, which means the help they need will vary.  We need to customize their learning to a way they will understand and will work for them.  We need to be flexible in our teachings in order to get the best outcome.

How to navigate this is tricky as well.  Getting a strong relationship with the school and teacher is important, as well as looking into the qualification for certain special education or supports.(4)

Here are 5 things we can do to help kid’s mental health

The first thing to do is talk.  Create awareness and make it known and a comfortable thing to talk about like physical education.  If kid’s are aware that it a real thing, a real problem, they will be more likely to understand and catch it earlier on.

The second thing to do is create a safe learning space.  One where there is a lower rate of bullying- because it’s almost impossible to get rid of it in all.  If kids feel safe, they will be more likely to talk to the teacher or a trusted adult about this.

The third is support for and by all.  Everybody, no matter what they do in a school has an impact.  Therefore, if everyone is open and discussing it, it will help greatly.  As well as looking out for themselves, making sure they are healthy, because once again they have an impact.

The fourth is the education of teachers.  The standards should be that teachers need to have some mental health knowledge.  But as that isn’t the case for everyone, if a teacher does, they should pass along the information.  The most important things for a teacher to know is how to identify the signs, understanding the “risk and resilience factors” and how to support and get help for them.

The last is “understanding it takes a village”.  It includes not only one person, but many, that need to communicate within each other and work together.  Many schools have things in place to help such as working with the parents, having extra staff support and student mentors.  Overall it is not a one person job. (5)

At first, I had decided to do this round on how our schooling right now plays a big part in contributing to the reasons as to why kids have such high levels of anxiety and depression.  However, I realized that I already had my prefixed opinion that it did.  However, that wouldn’t help anyone or make a difference.  Hopefully this information can help and was as interesting to read as it was to research.

This is my final round of research for this inquiry question and I have to say I enjoyed it a lot.  Next post Is the metamorphosis and I can’t wait to summarize all I have learned, which is a lot!  Thanks everyone for reading!

Original Post

Hi Catherine,

Great research round! I really like how you format your research, it's always so clear and organized which is highly appreciated when reading.  I feel like mental health is a topic that just is not discussed about enough, and is kind of taboo in a way.  I read something once about the statistics of mental health in different age groups, and it was noted at the bottom that these results could likely not be accurate because not many people seem to report about their mental health.  Maybe it is kind of taboo because it isn't discussed enough, however, I do like how in your research, you explained what we could to support children, which I think is a really good idea. 

Overall, great work!

Hi Catherine, 

Wow! Great research round. I liked the photos you added, for they were an intriguing read. I found the statistic on how 10% to 20% youth in Canada may develop a mental health disorder shocking. Mental health is a serious topic and that isn’t stressed often enough. Congratulations on bringing this topic into light.  

Even so, if you were to be using the same inquiry question for your next cycle, perhaps you may be interested in doing research on the different education systems in the world. You could also investigate the reaction and opinions of the people to the changes in education policies. Recently, on the news, I saw that students in some Ottawa high schools had planned and protested against the changes in education policies announced by Ontario’s Progressive Conservative government. They fought against the increase in the average class sizes for students in Grades 4 to 12, mandatory online courses for high schoolers and the cuts in education funding. I linked the information regarding to this topic down below! 

- 

Websites you can use: 

https://ottawacitizen.com/news...s-education-policies  

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada...ueens-park-1.5087734 

https://windsorstar.com/news/l...st-education-changes  

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I can’t wait until you next post, 

Alison 

Hi Catherine, 

Awesome post, it was very informative and a different perspective to teachers and their methods of teaching, especially in regards to the mental health of students. While I was reading, specifically the part about signs of a mental health in students, I couldn't help but wonder -- what will the teacher do about this? To elaborate, if a student is expressing various symptoms of a mental illness, what should the teacher do? What can the teacher do? I agree with your points, that teachers should create safe and supportive learning spaces, and also be educated in mental illness to cater to some difficulties that students may have in learning. However, in my opinion, I think it's also a matter of communication and seeking help/shelter. For example, having a safe space or time to leave class, communication with counsellors and teachers to adapt to the learning of the student in a classroom environment, etc. I think that these are all essential to minimize stress and anxiety that can add salt to the wound. 

Here are some links that touch on these topics:

https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/...h-disorders-vol2.pdf

https://ontario.cmha.ca/docume...esources-in-schools/

Great job on your round and looking forward to what you come up with in your next cycle ! 

Hi Catherine, 

 Great round of research. I really like how you focused on mental health and how to educate children and youth around it. Mental health is something difficult to talk about, despite having so much exposure these last few years. 

 I definitely think it would be a positive thing to start teaching kids about mental health at a young age. My mom teaches fourth grade and has recently started some new routines/lessons with her students to teach them about their own well-being.

 If you're interested in looking more into this topic, here are some websites:

- https://www.pa-fsa.org/Portals...d_Mental_Illness.pdf

 - http://teenmentalhealth.org/learn/

Good luck with future research! 

Hi Catherine,

This is a super interesting round of research and I found that your information was very clear to understand and nicely organized. I found it really interesting how you included the graph that shows hospitalizations and how mental health related hospitalizations have increased while other visits have decreased. I also really liked how you included 5 things that can be done to help students. I especially agreed with four and five. I think that if teachers have a better understanding of what a mental health disorder may look like, they will be able to create a more understanding environment and recognize what a student may need in class. I know this is your last round of research, but here are some sources you may be interested in:

(they are specifically about universities, but I think they could still apply to high school)

https://www.universityaffairs....their-mental-health/

https://www.psychologytoday.co...mental-health-crisis

This was a great post and I love your topic. I am looking forward to reading your metamorphosis.

- Etta 

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