Family Structure Can Play a Huge Role in how Children Feel

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Introduction Mental illness: the idea that one’s mental state or being has been significantly impacted in a negative manner, changing one’s thoughts, behaviors, and mood. This topic has become more prevalent in today’s society due to the rising issues seen in the younger population. On behalf of youth everywhere, the Child Mind Institute brings awareness to the idea that poor mental health as a detrimental effect on students. They have affimed to the public “Of the 74.5 million children in the United States, an estimated 17.1 million have or have had a psychiatric disorder — more than the number of children with cancer, diabetes, and AIDS combined.” The question is do today’s students have more mental health problems and do schools provide accurate treatment for these issues?

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How should schools provide more support to children with these issues you may ask? Schools need to begin to provide more care for their students by implementing policies and procedures to know the students troubles and provide accurate care. Moreover, schools need to assess and recognize the increase in teen suicide and mental health issues associated with school stress, substance abuse, and bullying will help students in having successful futures. Background/Context of Problem Detail: Children’s mental health is constantly changing, usually affected by their interactions with family and the environment around them. The basis for children’s behavior can usually be contributed to the love, care, companionship, and trust parents and other family members provide them. Unfortunately, not every child can be provided with this support from the people in their lives, leading to future issues.

Family structure can play a huge role in how children feel and their mental health state. Studies done and presented in the Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine concludes that “Significant differences in family structure were demonstrated in our study of children being admitted to inpatient psychiatric hospitalization.” Examples of these family differences include single parent households, unstable mental health in parents, family trauma, abuse, and hospitalization of parents. While the public eye may have false beliefs that these factors only take place in a small proportion of youth lives, statistics from the same study show “Only 11% of children came from intact families living with biological parents while 89% had some kind of disruption in their family structure.

Two-third of the children in the study population had been exposed to trauma with physical abuse seen in 36% of cases. Seventy-one percent had reported either a parent or a sibling with a psychiatric disorder”. This conclusion can help society to understand that mental health issues in our children population is more predominant than what people may have originally thought. Mental health issues can be caused by interactions with one’s environment. Bullying and trauma from certain situations early on in a child’s life can lead to damage noticed later on in life, many of which can be seen in middle and high school. As social media influence and bullying rates rise over the years, more mental health problems are seen in the teen population. B. Detail: On the contrary, some children are born with these issues that can be noticed by significant figures in the child’s life. These issues can affect learning, behavior, and emotion.

However, many of our youth are affected with mental illness through nature and not through environmental factors. It has been recognized on various occasions by scientists and resources such as the National Institute of Health that “Scientists have long recognized that many psychiatric disorders tend to run in families, suggesting potential genetic roots. Such disorders include autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), bipolar disorder, major depression and schizophrenia.” As these problems are now diagnosticated in a proper manner we can begin to make changes on how we acknowledge and bring attention to these problems in children. We have seen that several other researchers believe that mental illness can be caused by factors such as prenatal damage, chemical imbalances, and brain defects or injuries.Examples of this include bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.

Research shown from Mind UK acknowledges “Some research suggests that mental health problems may be linked to a variation in certain brain chemicals (such as serotonin and dopamine), but no one really understands how or why.” Although the science behind this is now somewhat weak, this conclusion could show a reasoning behind the health problems that some of the youth population holds. Main Point 1 (Mental Health isn’t seen as an issue in schools which leads to improper training): Detail (Quote/Paraphrase/Partial Paraphrase): “ In a school classroom of 25 students, five of them may be struggling with the same issues many adults deal with: depression, anxiety, substance abuse.And yet most children — nearly 80 percent — who need mental health services won’t get them.” (National Public Radio) Mental illness is a subject seen with stigma around it. Schools often don’t help to recognize these problems.

Schools are often not provided with proper training and awareness to deal with students struggling with mental health problems. This issue has taken place for years and has contributed to children feeling misplaced and weird for their mental illnesses. Schools don’t educate themselves and their student on the rising epidemic of these problems, leading those who are affected to feel uncared for and misunderstood. These students often have a rough time participating, making friends, and doing well in school. Sadly enough, schools tend to blame this on the child instead of taking responsibility for their lack of care. Detail (Quote/Paraphrase/Partial Paraphrase): “Often suffer anxiety, difficulty focusing and social challenges. Half of them dropout of high school, in part because many schools don’t manage to meet their needs.” (Public Broadcasting System) Often schools ignore the statistic and blame the student for these problems, when harsh reality shows that these issues are not something that can be fought alone.

Students may feel confused and alone because schools don’t recognize that mental illness is a very common problem. Because not everyone receives help and support from parents and therapists, schools need to understand that they are sometimes the only solution. With lack of proper training, schools are letting down several students and leading them down a bad path for the future. Main Point 2 (Rising Teen suicide/ School Shootings): Detail (Quote/Paraphrase/Partial Paraphrase): “There have been 17 school shootings in 2018 alone, and 290 since 2013, shortly after Sandy Hook.” (CHRIS WILSON ) There has been a rise in school shootings over the years and the question we must ask ourselves is this an indication that over the years there has been a rise in youth mental health problems? Research has been shown that because of school pressures students tend to have more angst and suicidal thoughts. A main point noticed is the lack of schools that discuss these issues and bring awareness to these rising epidemics.

The average student will not bring to attention something they notice that is suspicious about another student because they are not aware of the signs of an underlying issue. This plays a huge role in why school shootings are more prevalent. If schools were to educate students and help them to realize how big these concerns are we would be safer as a school and country. Detail: “Over half of college students have thought about suicide in their lifetime, and approximately 18 percent have seriously considered it… Nearly half of those who have thought seriously about suicide chose not to tell anyone about their suicidal thoughts.” (Marty Swanbrow Becker) Statistics have helped to prove that students don’t feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and that plenty of students have a slight issue with depression and/or anxiety. With issues such as suicidal thoughts rising schools have been reactive rather than proactive.

The school system tends to not bring awareness and light to these issues until something devastating happens, in which the react afterwards. Main Point 3 (Anxiety and Depression caused by Schools): Detail (Quote/.Paraphrase/Partial Paraphrase): “For ages 6 to 17, researchers found a 20 percent increase in diagnoses of anxiety between 2007 and 2012. (The rate of depression over that same time period ticked up 0.2 percent.” (National Survey for Children’s Health) It has been shown through statistical research that anxiety is the leading mental health problem in children and teens. Our schools largely contribute to this by “ Increasing Classroom pressures” (National Survey for Children’s Health). Anxiety and Depression both equally can cause painful effects to one’s future and can give one a sense of giving up. Schools who tend to see students not trying are not aware and trained to understand that these students may have issues outside of their classwork and that maybe the constant pressure is affecting their ability to succeed. With it becoming increasingly harder to strive in college and get into a good school students may become extremely overwhelmed and develop these problems. Detail: “The typical school accepted 65.5% of its applicants. Back in 2001, the average acceptance rate was 71%. 6. Seventy-three percent of colleges and universities in 2010 experienced an increase in applications from the previous year.” (CBS News) It has come to people’s attention that schools are now increasing in difficulty which moreover affects students levels of stress.

To continue, even with rising pressures schools are not providing accurate help and treatment to deal with modern education’s effects on students. Understanding that schools are contributing to the problem means they should also provide accurate treatment. “Anxiety disorders are highly treatable, yet only 36.9% of those suffering receive treatment.” Part of this statistic includes the schools. Schools expect so much out of people who are not even fully developed as human beings. Although counselors are provided at schools, most students do not interact with them, feeling they can’t accurately care for them. C. Detail: “Research has found that bullying and depression in school are often related. Victims of bullying in school are at greater risk for depression. Hence, depression in school due to bullying may be a factor in teen suicide.” (Newport Academy) 1. Bullying is often seen in schools and can contribute to mental health issues seen in teens. We can see bullying in forms of physical and mental violence. Although schools try to bring awareness to this it often does not have any impact. 2. Schools are responsible for what happens to children at schools and therefore need to become more aware of issues that take place in the hallways and at lunch, not just in the classrooms. The solution is Schools need to provide education and care for mental health issues. Detail (Quote/.Paraphrase/Partial Paraphrase): Schools need to begin with accurate education.

Classes and Meetings should be put in place for teachers to be accurately trained in subjects such as child and teen anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, etc. Schools should implement the objectives they learn by teaching them to students and helping the children they teach. Mandatory student classroom units on the importance of mental health and speaking up should be taught starting in younger elementary school grades. The topic should be open to discussion with any teachers and/ or staff. Students should have the option to learn more about the topic through school fundraisers for mental health and grade wide meetings in auditoriums. More trained school personnel such as full time psychologists and therapists on campus could significantly help students Mandatory every other week meetings with homeroom teachers or counselors could help students to express how they are feeling and give schools an insight to their students mental health. Counterargument (Another feasible solution to the problem) Detail: More non traditional ways of solving this problem include: Trained therapy dogs at lunch who will help to ease anxiety and give students a chance to relax Mental health periods, a 15-20 minute break in the school day where students can sign up to talk to teachers, take a break, eat a snack, or rest inside the classroom. (these differ from knight time because it shouldn’t be focused on school work, but rather the health of the student)

Later start times, statistics have proven when you don’t get as much sleep this can mess with your circadian rhythm and overall brain functioning. Less stress on academics and more stress on unconventional classes such as home economics, cooking, and art. Refutation (Why your solution is still best “Yes, but” argument) Detail: Although schools should provide better care this can be expensive. Many programs and teacher lessons can take lots of money out of the school budgeting Hiring more staff on campus requires more people to be payed and can get very expensive. Detail: Mental Health issues can be solved at home 1. People can talk to family members and Therapists at home. 2. Not everyone feels comfortable talking to teachers and on campus staff.

Schools should learn the signs and symptoms of mental disorders as it comes to light as a more prominent issue in today’s society. Schools today are not accurately helping students in need with these problems. Mental health issues are very common and not an easy fix without help. Rising suicides, anxiety, depression, and the lack of awareness is very detrimental to students everywhere. As a society we need to lean towards educating ourselves and the school systems on mental illness to provide a safe and quality future for our new generation. 

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Family Structure Can Play A Huge Role In How Children Feel. (2022, Apr 11). Retrieved December 10, 2022 , from

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