How the Education System Affects Students’ Mental Health



Natalia Cullins, Contributor

While many say that school helps us learn and expand our minds, others would say that school negatively impacts their minds and bodies. With the demanding workload and overbearing parents, a school can seem like a never-ending torture device that starts at 9:30 a.m. Monday through Friday. Data shows that up to one in five students struggles with mental health and/or show signs of mental health disorders in the United States (NPR). Many blame students for their mental health problems and many parents brush mental health under the rug and call it an “excuse” to slack off in school. Mental health is no joke and should not be taken as one, but many schools can’t accommodate all the students that need help.  

This is due to the lack of funding and the lack of administrators and teachers that care about the well-being of their students. While mental health is treatable if not caught in time it can be harmful to the student and the people they are around (ACMH). Also giving students medicine will not stop the problem; instead it could amplify the effects leading to substance abuse in the future. What students need are qualified teachers and counselors that will help them through their issues and will help them keep up with their schoolwork (NPR). Many students say that nobody asked them what was wrong, and I blame that on the lack of school staff that has training in mental health classes. Even if one more teacher has mental health training, they could save the life of a struggling student.  

Not only do we need more qualified school staff, but we also need less homework and more in-class learning and retention. A recent study from the Stanford Graduate School of Education and colleagues found that students in high-performing schools who did excessive hours of homework “experienced greater behavioral engagement in school but also more academic stress, physical health problems, and lack of balance in their lives” (Stanford Children Health). We are at school for 8 hours and then we must do 3 hours of homework after school, plus the afterschool activities that we love to do that leave us no time for sleeping, eating, or just relaxing (Duke Today).  

That’s why I think teachers need to lessen homework and teach us better while we are in school. There would be no need for excessive amounts of homework if they just taught us better and gave us more time to do things in class. In conclusion, school affects student’s mental health in more ways than one, and something needs to change in the education system.