What Schools Can Do to Help with Mental Health



The School Counseling Office is a great resource for students struggling with issues of mental health.

Kaitlin Cummins, Staff Writer

In a given year, up to 1 in 5 kids in the United States show symptoms of mental health disorders according to the NPR organization. 

According to PBS news, in 2014 the federal government gave $48 million in new grants to support communities, teachers, and schools in recognizing and helping with mental health issues. Still, many students’ mental health issues are looked over. 

Part of students’ success in school comes from having their mental health needs met. Some schools, like our own NAI, do a good job of recognizing and taking action when students come to them with their problems. 

Throughout this school year, I have struggled a lot with being present in school and in class. Having a mental health issue affected my performance in school greatly. From missing days at a time because I couldn’t get out of bed to not being able to sit still in class, it was a challenge. 

In my experience, the counselors at NAI have been completely supportive. They are very flexible and open to the needs of students like me. In my opinion, the most important thing they do is listen. Being listened to whenever going through a difficult time is important in every person’s case. 

Being a student struggling with mental health is not easy. Sitting in a classroom all day not being able to focus or even stay awake makes going to school seem obsolete. And after not going to school, students are presented with makeup work. It is an ongoing cycle. 

In order to succeed academically, students need to feel supported in their environment. The NAI counselors take mental health seriously, and take action when brought to their attention. One of the main ways students are supported at our school is with the in school therapist. 

Finding someone who will listen to you about mental health is something many people struggle with. Having a good support system of counselors and therapy can help tremendously.

Finding someone who will listen to you about mental health is something many people struggle with. Having a good support system of counselors and therapy can help tremendously. Schools providing mental health services available to the students makes a large impact.  

School can impact mental health just as much as mental health impacts teen’s performance in school. Newport Institute states two-thirds of students reported being stressed about poor grades. Mental health issues can easily spiral because of this. 

If students’ mental health starts to decline, grades are likely to decline with it. Because of the new poor grades, students may experience even more stress. Mental health affecting school can lead to bad habits being formed, and being hard to get out of. 

Steps can be taken, however, to help students get through school. A 504 Plan is accommodations given to students with mental disorders to ease the trouble of school. 

Mental health problems can come in all shapes and sizes, and sometimes students need changes made to their academic life so it is not so stressful.  As a freshman student, I believe teachers should be more aware of what is going on in a student’s personal life in regards to mental health. 

Beyond being more aware, teachers can also do more to make sure students are more comfortable talking about how mental health might be affecting their work in school. Creating an environment where mental health and school can be talked about openly would make big strides to helping the problem.