Why should schools include mental health education in the curriculum?

Sheri Van Dijk

Stigma and a lack of awareness and understanding often prevent people from recognizing and accepting mental health problems -whether in themselves or others. If we can educate people from a young age on what mental illness is, how to recognize it, what to do about it, and that it is simply another illness like diabetes or high blood pressure, people will be more likely to seek help when they need it.

The other possible benefit to mental health education in the curriculum is that young people learn to live healthier lives so that they might be less likely to develop mental illness as they get older. I've often had people tell me in therapy that they wish they had learned the skills I'm teaching them in kindergarten!

When school systems include mental health education as part of the curriculum, teachers, too, learn about suicide prevention. In turn the information students bring home helps to educate their parents, who have a critical need to understand the symptoms of mental disorders and warning signs for suicide.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.