Nazanin Malek Mohammadi

Professor: Kate O’Leary
English 111: 542N


Mental Health Effects on Children in Virginia Schools

Student mental health has been a challenge this year. Being away from school and society added many difficulties to the student’s life specially age between 10-14. Research since 2019 shows seven out of 10 young people identified anxiety and depression have the highest rate of mental disorder in high schools and recently in law required Virginia education department to grant the excused absence regard to student’s mental health.

Recognizing mental health at schools matters because 1 in 5 children and youth have a diagnosable emotional, behavioral, or mental health disorder and 1 in 10 young people have a mental health challenge that is severe enough to impair how they function at home, school or in the community. Mental health problems mostly develop in childhood and if it gets to control in younger ages, it won’t treat student’s future and will help them to be successful in their education and personal life.

Mental health disorders are treatable for educational life of the students because research shows only “40 percent of students with mental and behavioral disorders graduate from high school and rest of them drop out which is the highest drop out rate of any disability group” (CAHMI).

The exact cause of mental health disorders is unknown but combination of factors such as biology, genetics, psychological trauma, and environmental stress in addition to all social media can cause many hidden mental health problems for children as well. Social media use can negatively affect teens, distracting them, disrupting them from sleep and exposing them to bullying. “The risks might be related to how much social media teens use. A 2019 study of more than 6,500 12- to 15-year-olds in the U.S. found that those who spent more than three hours a day using social media might be at heightened risk for mental health problems. Another 2019 study of more than 12,000 13- to 16-year-olds in England found that using social media more than three times a day predicted poor mental health and well-being in teens” (Social media harms, Mayo 3).

West Virginia University health department recently decided to make sure all teachers aware of mental health crises. Schimmel said. “If we don’t have a school counselor in a school, we at least need to have a teacher who knows the signs, symptoms and strategies to stabilize a child in crisis and get that child to the resources they need. With this strategy they can train many teachers and school counselor to help more students and avoid more trouble for children and faculty.

Mental health is a growing problem.”40 percent increase since 2009. In 2019, approximately 1 in 6 youth reported making a suicide plan in the past year, a 44% increase since 2009″(CDC). The most important thing is having sufficient knowledge of how to face a child or teen who may be struggling with their mental health. it is particularly important for parents and other responsible adults to watch for unusual changes in children’s behavior such as having difficulty eating or sleeping or becoming more withdrawn, the respond of parents and teachers have important role in teen’s mental health specially for the one who have past trauma and additional anxiety can lead them to hurting themselves or suicide which includes huge number.

Sometimes knowing students and supporting them in a way that can improve their problems is helpful. For example, a hyperactive child may benefit from working some daily activity which is a normal active child cannot do that, but hyperactive child can do that easily. Schools have an important role to shape children who has background of mental health disorders especially behavioral problems. Academic stress and depression additional to the students who has self-deprecation can totally change the student’s life and it can be another reason for them to not trust helpful people at schools and don’t take their mental problem serious.

“Mental Health Disorders can affect classroom learning and social interactions, both of which are critical to the success of students. However, if appropriate services are put in place to support a young person’s mental health needs, we can often maximize success and minimize negative impacts for students” (Problems at school, ACMH).

Jefferson High School one of 8 schools nationwide selected to participate in teen mental health to provide better education for teachers and students, while they train teacher and adding new course to all their programs, they can support as many as schools that needs trained teacher or social workers. “Robinson, who works as program director for the Montana Hospital Association’s South-Central Area Health Education Center, went on to further explain that while similar mental health first aid courses exist to educate adults on how to help either their peers or youth, this is the first program that focuses on educating teens to help teens. Through a handful of 45-minute courses that follow a five-step action plan, Jefferson High School teens will soon learn how to recognize and respond to developing mental health or substance use problems among their peers, including how to identify a “circle of trusted adults,” Robinson said, hence the reason for last Friday’s youth mental health first aid training” (Missoula 2).

To helping children and family who are involved with mental health disorders “The Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters (CHKD) mental health hospital, now under construction, will provide urgently needed services to children. The $224 million, 14-story tower on the CHKD/EVMS/Sentara medical campus in Norfolk is slated to open in 2022. It will have 60 inpatient beds and offer an array of outpatient treatments, including “partial hospitalization.” CHKD is Virginia’s only freestanding children’s hospital and houses the state’s only Level I pediatric surgery program, serving patients as far north as Virginia’s Middle Peninsula, as far west as Williamsburg and as far south as Elizabeth City, N.C” (Early, Elizabeth).

With all the numbers and affection families and education system should take children’s mental health seriously and each state should provide enough budget to tarin professional social worker and prepared schools to have healthier students nationwide. There is some strategies that may help:

  • “Allowing flexible deadlines or letting the student have an option to re-do work so they feel more confident turning it in.
  • Helping the teacher to recognize escalating anxiety in a child and equipping them with the tools to intervene and help the child to implement strategies that help manage their anxiety.
  • Pre-planning for group discussions to help reduce their anxiety about what they will share or say” (ACMH, PROBLEMS AT SCHOOL).