Could Education and mental health be linked?

Ellie Robbins, Reporter

In today’s society, mental health takes a massive part. It determines people’s happiness and their stability. So, does education affect a student’s mental health?

The majority of people who say ‘no’ to this question are adults. There are many reasons as to why this may be. It is not because they have an ‘old fashioned mindset’ or ‘cannot catch up with the times’ it is because these adults completed their schooling when the education system was much different to how it is now. Their experience of school was much different to the generations attending school in our society today because of this difference in education. When these individuals reflect on their educational experiences, they picture a very different lifestyle to how the lifestyle of education is in today’s world. To elaborate, they did not have an education based solely on technology. For example, in many states of America, every student is required to own a chromebook. Or in some cases around the world, a student is not required to own a computer for schoolwork but the school is required to contain a computer room. In most cases around the world every student needs some sort of technical writing utensil to complete school work at home. This is only one example of how different the education system is today to the education system the adults of our world know. So when these adults state that ‘mental health and education are not linked’, they are most likely basing this opinion on their own past experiences of school, yet we all know how different education is now for the students of this generation. 

Another reason as to why the adults of our world may say ‘no’ to mental health and education being linked is because they were never involved with education during a pandemic. In this case, I will use the example of the pandemic caused due to COVID-19. Even though students were able to lay in bed, drinking hot chocolate, while scrolling on their phone during a zoom call, It has been proven that COVID-19 caused great anxiety within the students of our world. There are many reasons as to why this was a result of the pandemic. The main reason is because students were isolated from others for so long that when they returned back into the atmosphere of a classroom with other students, they felt more socially anxious around other students than they had ever felt before the pandemic. Because of the anxiety students are feeling, it causes them to feel less motivated to complete work in class. They will now also be against putting their hand up in class for advice or help with a subject (resulting in these students being less capable of understanding the topic). There are many other actions which social anxiety prevents an individual from acting out, but these are simply a couple. Because of this, anxiety turns into depression which then leads to a student feeling incapable of completing work. Parents may not be able to understand how a pandemic can result in school causing anxiety and depression among the youth.

The majority of people who answer ‘most definitely’ to whether mental health and education could be linked are most likely minors or young adults. I could say that this is because ‘they are obsessed with their phones’, or ‘they prefer to have nothing to do with schooling whatsoever!’ However, this would be an uncalled for accusation which I am not prepared to make. Instead, I will name the two most believable common reasons for this.

The first is that, as we all know, school often takes up alot of people’s time. This is because of homework, studying for an exam or after school extra curricular activities. Instead of a student getting home after school and meeting up with friends or watching some TV, they are obligated to contribute to school commitments. Although I do understand that school is completely important for a younger individual, I also understand that their social life is as important. How can we expect people to be happy and in the right mindset if we do not give them the opportunity to live a life outside of school? Now, you could argue that it is the students’ choice to commit more to school than to their own lives, but school pressures students to leave their own life till last. In other words they influence the idea of school being the number one priority over anything else in their students’ lives. Because of this, students make sure to pick as many extra curricular activities as they can and study as much as they are able to, which in the end, takes up all of their time. School should be a priority to many, but school should not take away people’s social life. The social aspect of a person’s life does increase a person’s attitude and happiness. So, if we take this into consideration, schools are taking their social life away from their hands and therefore are taking away their students’ happiness also.

The second reason is because minors or young adults may be being bullied in the school they attend. Yes, this is not the schools fault, but schools are the area of which this most likely occurs. Let me elaborate. If a student everyday attends a school where they are harassed by other individuals in a non pleasing way, this will change their attitude towards school. Many have viewed school as a positive environment, but if they are being bullied this view will change and therefore so will their mental wellbeing. These students will begin to link school with bullying and therefore this will alter how they view everything within schools. This includes homework, extracurricular activities, teachers and other students around them. Therefore, the students who are bullied wish to not complete homework, for example, as they believe that they should not contribute to their education if said education is influencing and changing their happiness. If a student is told everyday by others that they are ‘too nerdy’, ‘do not deserve to be here’ or that they ‘are not good enough’ their view of themselves will change also. This results in their whole personality changing, therefore their views on school will change, and therefore, this will change the state of their mental health.