Mental Health Classes: Should they be Required in Schools?

Mikaela Peralta, Editor

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The question about requiring mental health classes in schools has been brought to the public’s attention due to bullying, student suicides, and the numerous school shootings that have taken place in the past year.

Many parents and teachers believe that the enforcement of mental health classes in school would help prevent such acts of violence amongst students. However, required classes that focus on mental health may actually have the opposite effect.

When students are forced or obligated to do something, they may go against it simply because adolescents tend to clash with authority, meaning that students may not take the class seriously. However, if the idea of mental health would be promoted throughout the school through things like posters, boards, meeting, etc, students would still be exposed to it without being forced to learn about it on the daily.  

If, for example, there were to be a mental health class that would discuss typical issues amongst students and solutions to those issues, the students in the class may not have their issues discussed and may not be comfortable discussing it amongst their classmates.

Every person is different from the other and may have different ways of effectively coping with their problems, of which may not be listed in the curriculum. Rather than providing mental health classes, schools could promote professional therapy, which would be more efficient than in-school guidance, so students would not have to be so open about their problems in an environment of which they may not be comfortable.

The main focus of school should be education and preparation for the future. Adding another required class to a students’ schedule may prevent a student from taking a class that they are interested in, or that educates them for an occupation those students consider obtaining in the future.

There are further statements arguing that classes could still take place, however, they would be optional. The issue with optional mental health classes would be that the students may be outcasted by other students which may give them a hard time.

Mental health is definitely something that should be of concern in a school environment, however, promoting awareness of mental health, therapy, holding anti-bullying seminars, or even taking a few minutes of the beginning of the school day to hold a brief meditation would have a great effect on the students’ knowledge on mental health.