Why I Needed My School To Prioritise Mental Health
Laura shares what practical help and support would have helped her during a difficult time at school.
From my experience, mental health was not something that was spoken about often at school – I remember topics such as ‘healthy living’ and a ‘healthy lifestyle’ being discussed frequently; however, information about how to live a mentally healthy lifestyle appeared to be overlooked. That’s why I’m writing this - I wish there could have been a blog that I could’ve looked at during this time to make me feel less alone.
My school didn’t really focus on the importance of mental health, so when I first began having some issues of my own, I felt lost and alone. The triggering point for me appeared to be my last year of sixth form. There was the general pressure to do well in exams, to meet deadlines and to somehow keep up a social life at the same time, but my problems developed beyond this level. Although those things brought me stress, I wouldn’t say that they necessarily impacted my mental health to a high degree. This was the problem I had; everything in my life seemed to be going well, so why was I so unhappy?
These negative feelings became stronger and began to impact my studies. I found it extremely difficult to focus in class and I stressed myself out even more as I didn’t think it was normal to feel this way. During this period, I really wish that my school had offered more guidance regarding mental health, as having someone or somewhere to go within school to discuss how I was feeling would have helped me greatly.
I remember that one day I just couldn’t take it anymore and I had to leave class as I was about to burst into tears. My friends and family tried to help, but I needed somebody else. I eventually went to the doctors about how I was feeling because I felt as though I’d ran out of options. I think it’s important to realise that if you’re struggling mentally and your school doesn’t seem to have any support, look into your options more closely – your school may have a support system, but you just might not be aware of it. If they don’t offer anything trust me, you’re not alone and it is extremely normal to feel this way. If you find that there is no help, the next step would be to talk to family or friends and ultimately, a professional who can instruct you about which steps you can take. Schools need to educate students more on the importance of mental health, everybody struggles with it so why should it be overlooked?
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