Owing to the pandemic, mental health in all humans is an increasingly talked-about topic. Yet, our attempts to eliminate the stigma around it seem to fall short every time. Asking for help regarding mental issues is still looked down upon.
- More than 1 in 3 high school students had experienced persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness in 2019, a 40 per cent increase since 2009.
- In 2019, approximately 1 in 6 youth reported making a suicide plan in the past year, a 44% increase since 2009.
- Student mental health is one of the least talked about topics and the most overlooked ones. Adolescence is the time of life to have a healthy start. But when these bursting-with-energy individuals get trapped in the clutches of mental disorders, things no longer remain pretty. These feelings were found to be more common among lesbian, gay, or bisexual students and female students.
- Almost half of the lesbian, gay, or bisexual students and nearly one-third of students not sure of their sexual identity reported they had seriously considered suicide—far more than heterosexual students.
- The number of black students who reported attempting suicide in 2019 rose by almost 50%.
Poor mental health among students is more than just feeling blue. Mental health problems in youth often go hand-in-hand with other health and behavioural risks like increased risk of drug use, experiencing violence, and higher risk sexual behaviours that can lead to HIV, STDs, and unintended pregnancy. Because many health behaviours and habits are established in adolescence that will carry over into adult years, it is very important to help youth develop good mental health. On top of that, the pandemic has disrupted each student’s balance between work and play. The emotional effects of being physically away from friends, combined with all the uncertainty that engulfed us, had a heavy toll on all of us.
There is a role for everyone in preventing the deterioration of student mental health. Parents, families, schools, and the community as a whole, have a duty towards their youth to make sure it flourishes. Hiring counsellors is the most basic step that every school can take.
More needs to be done for mental health and about it.