Compulsory education

I wrote a few months back about mental health in academia or rather the lack of it. This post is going to be focused more on the need for it rather than the pressures and protection.

I've been wanting to write this post for a while and is something which I am extremely passionate about, due to my own experience of mental health in the education system. However, what had sparked this post was a tweet from @Mentalhealth_ed who have set up petitions to the secretary of education, to make mental health in education compulsory. You can visit their website, here.

You see, mental health is extremely common, with 1/4 experiencing a mental health problem in any one year. More importantly though, 1/3 in every school class will experience a mental health problem. That's the same probability as some physical illnesses and yet, mental health is still not addressed as important or fatal, which of course it is.

The anatomy of the body is taught in biology, but yet mental health is left out of it. Furthermore, in personal development there is the discussion of drugs, alcohol and sex to an extent which may or may not be successful, but yet no talk of mental health. Until you go to school, you are surrounded by your families opinions, and at such an influential age this is all you really know. Thus this is where school becomes an important information source. With young people spending more time in education than outside, surely it's highly important to prepare them for future life and everything that can come their way. By educating early, we can get people to really understand the reasons and reality to mental health. In this way then we can battle the harmful and horrific stigma of the straight jackets, murderers and schizophrenics. 

If we aren't going to learn about this in education, then where will we learn it? We won't learn about it in the community, because many still believe in the myths. They aren't educated on mental health, which isn't always their fault; it's what they've been socialised into. I have written a lot more about the stigma, here and whilst we are working on the government, you can voluntarily read about the myths, here.

It's not just the education during these school years, but the importance in noticing how many pupils go through mental health problems. With mental health in schools still being taboo due to the lack of education, many will keep their mental health a secret as it is seen as 'bad' and this is extremely dangerous. Many teachers don't have the knowledge of how to act and pupils don't know how to act around them with only knowledge of stereotypes. With it being so common, not only do we need to teach to get others to understand, but to support those suffering. We must let them know it's okay to talk and you shouldn't suffer in silence.

Many of you retweeted my tweet about mental health and education, which is amazing; it just shows how many people see compulsory mental health in education as important. Please help us to raise more awareness and change the current situation by sharing this blog post, and using the hashtag #compulsorymentalhealth on twitter.

Let's just give ourselves one last reminder. Mental illness kills and destroys. Physical health is attributed with the same statistics and has more attention paid to it, but the same if not worse consequences can occur from a mental health condition. People have lost and are losing friends, family members, colleagues, sons and daughters, mums and dads due to the mental illness that is eating them away and yet this still isn't regarded as important enough to educate about. Because there aren't straightforward scientific methods to determine the diagnosis of these conditions, it's brushed aside. Because you can't see internal bleeding or a lack of white blood cells, it's regarded as inferior. But, let me ask you this; would a person stay in hell if they had the chance to leave?, would there be tears running down their face with absolute dread in their eyes, with a racing heartbeat if they weren't trying to get over the fear attributed with their mental health condition? It's time to face the fact that mental health does exist. We know that it can be a chemical imbalance and we can see from the outside the absolute turmoil in people's behaviour. Now's the time to educate, to get rid of the stigma and to save lives. 

You probably know someone who is suffering with mental illness or are yourself. Please sign the petitions to improve peoples lives for the future. 

Best wishes,
Amy xx