Increase in mental health problems among young people

Over the past two years, the world has changed in ways that were unimaginable just months before the coronavirus hit and caused a worldwide lockdown. Everyone around the world has been affected, from the hospitality industry to care homes. However, young people were among the most affected. In 2017, one in nine young people reportedly had mental health problems. This has increased significantly since then, with the latest data showing that up to one in six young people have mental health issues. However, the coronavirus was not solely responsible for this increase in statistics. In fact, some of the most prominent antagonists in this case were things that existed long before the coronavirus lockdowns began.

Psychological research shows that as humans we are programmed to be able to handle relationships with 100 to 150 people. If our social group is much larger than that, then we become unable to cope and form unproductive relationships. However, in most schools, the age groups exceed 200 and the entire school population can exceed 1000! This creates a stressful environment, conducive to social anxiety and bullying.

I have spoken to some of my friends who suffer from mental health issues about how it affects them. Lily and Manleen suffer from anxiety. Anxiety is defined as “a feeling of worry, nervousness or unease about something the outcome of which is uncertain”. Manleen told me that her anxiety made her “sick to the core”, and that it made her “shake so much that she couldn’t even write”. I asked her if she felt something was making the situation worse. His answer was “school”. She said being in school made her feel like she had to work hard just to prove herself as she felt she was being treated unfairly. Lily’s anxiety prevents her from doing everyday things and she frequently suffers from panic attacks. She said her anxiety affected her a lot at school, however, she also said that being in school didn’t help her at all.

I asked my two friends if they thought there was anything their schools could do to change that or improve, and they both said they didn’t know. Sadly, 75% of children with mental health issues don’t get the help they need.

So how could this change? Well, the idea of ​​a “human-sized school” is when every student has a curriculum tailored to their own specific needs and easy access to the help they need. This can be achieved by dividing schools and age groups into different houses, with each house occupying a different area of ​​the school. Each house could have its own staff and teachers, making each child feel personally valued and prioritized. This is one of the ways that could help reduce the ever-increasing reports of mental health problems among young people in our society. These children are the future and they deserve to get the help they need.

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