Each student has their own unique set of predispositions with respect to mental health, so it is only natural that some will have to work harder than others to resist tendencies towards anxiety, depression and other mental health issues. Mental health issues impact all aspects of life. However, from an educational perspective students struggling with their mental health might experience:
1. reduced ability to concentrate
2. reduced ability to retain information
3. reduced ability to maintain a study routine
4. significant loss of motivation
5. withdrawal from classes
‘Academic tuition is well-established for improving a child’s attainment at school, and yet mental well-being support is much less commonly explored’ says Wesley Sanders from Athena Tuition. So, in this blog post, we’ll explore why this might be the case and consider the help that is available. First, we need to highlight some key statistics to provide some background and context:
According to a US study with nearly 10,000 participants, half of mental health problems have emerged by the age of 14. Of these, the most common is anxiety, closely followed by mood disorders. Furthermore, in a meta-analysis of 101 studies, published in The Journal of Special Education, 89% of the studies found that a group of children suffering from a mental health condition performed worse in their academic studies than the control group.
Studies like these reveal the huge importance of mental well-being on a student’s academic success. Yet, despite this, the Children’s Society finds that 75% of children and adolescents suffering from a mental health problem do not receive treatment. This is largely to do with a lingering stigma that surrounds mental health issues.
The history of mental illness goes back thousands of years, to periods where human understanding of science was much more basic. At that time, knowledge of the function of the brain was almost non-existent. Instead, anything to do with the mind and personality was attributed to supernatural forces, and thought to be entirely separate from the physical body. Mental illnesses were seen as a punishment by a God, and as something for which the sufferer was responsible.
It was only after the enlightenment people began to address mental illness in a more scientific manner. However, stigma still lingers today. Significant humanitarian work in the 20th Century brought mental health to the attention of the public. Since then the stigma associated with mental illness has been gradually receding.
Mentoring, counselling and therapy are all strategies that can provide students with outlets to talk through their challenges. An experienced professional can work with the student to develop techniques and tools to help them. With the right support, the student can improve their quality of life and their academic performance. These tools are useful during school but can also go on to be of great use throughout one’s entire life. If your child requires support, reach out to Sophie or their local coordinator who will always be happy to help.
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