Schools need to ensure the mental health of their students

Luke Elkins, Editorials Editor

Students are affected by many mental health disorders daily.

Stress, anxiety and depression affect many students and can make it hard to effectively function at times. It is important that students can seek out and receive help when they need it, as 50% of all cases of mental illness begin at age 14 according to the National Alliance on Mental Health.

The major root of stress, anxiety, and depression for many students is school work.

The buildup of school work is an issue for many students, who have to juggle assignments and due dates from multiple classes.

“I think teachers need to understand not to pile all of the workload at the same time,” senior Rohan Miah said.

Repetitive, unnecessary homework is something that needs to be addressed as well.

“Some teachers need to chill out with the amount of homework they assign,” senior Kidus Ayele said. If students have mastered a concept they learned in class, they shouldn’t have to spend hours on such mundane tasks they already know how to do.

Another factor that gravely impacts mental health is nutrition.

Our brain functions best with quality food, much like an expensive car functions best with premium fuel according to a study done by the Harvard Medical School.

Eating high-quality foods that contain lots of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants nourishes the human brain. A bad diet can negatively affect the brain and worsens depression.

Miah believes FCPS can improve the selection of food they have for students in their county to assist with this.

“In terms of food, the food is garbage, it’s worse than McDonald’s. I really think the food does have an effect on mental health and in general health,”  Miah said. “If the cafeteria started moving towards a more healthy alternative, I think that’d be way better for the students. If we’re not getting proper nutrition we can’t function.”

That’s not to say FCPS hasn’t made strides in a positive direction. This year, FCPS has worked towards addressing mental health by hiring psychologists for every middle and high school, but questions can be raised over whether that is enough to solve a growing mental health epidemic among teenagers.

Suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death for youth, with 90% of suicides being caused by an underlying mental health problem. Obviously, it’s not just an issue of “toughing up” or anything like that. Mental health is a serious issue that needs to be addressed.

If you are struggling with suicidal thoughts or depression, contact the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.