Teaching Prof. Spring 2015
Topic: Current Issues
Mental Illness in the Classroom
Today, more than ever, mental illness is at a very high point. Many children and teenagers suffer from various forms of depression and anxiety. But how does this affect them in the classroom and how can we as teachers make our students feel comfortable and safe in our classrooms. As many and 1 in 10 children suffer from an anxiety disorder and as many as 1 in 33 children suffer from depression (School Mental Health). These are just the cases that get diagnosed. Many more cases go undiagnosed each year. With these statistics it is clear that we will encounter students suffering from these illnesses in our classrooms. It is hard for people without a mental illness what it is like to suffer silently through it. These illnesses cause students to withdrawl and be afraid to participate in the classroom or even go to school at all. I feel that this is a big problem in today's schools because it often goes unrecognized as a problem but it can affect students drastically.
There are many ways mental illness can affect students in the classroom. It can severly alter their concentration. If their anxiety is heightened than they will be thinking about whatever is causing them to be nervous and the class they are sitting in will be put on the back burner. Mental illness also takes a lot of energy out of you. By mid-day all of the things normal functioning people find easy have taken a large toll on people with mental illness. This increase in tiredness will cause the student's overall work ethic to decrease and the student may being to skip more often. Mental illness also causes to have a fear of judgment from their peers. This will cause students to skip on big presentation days or be relectant to participate in class. Mental illness is a huge factor in college students dropping out or transferring to schools closer to home.
I feel like this is a big problem in schools mostly because of the fact that it isn't seen as a problem. Teenagers who are suffering from these illnesses are brushed off as a phase which can ultimately make their condition worse. Student's fell like they have no one to turn to within the school system because it isnt viewed as problematic. I remember when I discussed my own doubt of depression with my prinicpal and he told me that I was "too young to be sad" and that when I hit the real world I would truly know what anxiety and depression feels like. Students suffering from mental illness need to feel as though their feelings are validated and that they aren't alone in their fight. Understanding that these are as real as things such as cancer or diabetes and recognizing that depression and anxiety don't discriminate against age, race, economic standing, or anything really is one of the biggest steps that school systems need to take in order to make students feel more welcome.
In order to fix the…