Individuals are influenced by the six people they are exposed to the most. These people can shape who a person becomes, how they think, and how they feel.
Parents only represent one or two of those six, with the other roles usually filled by close teachers or friends from school. This leaves children highly susceptible to school impact on mental health in the form of social influences, friends, and academic stress.
The Impact of School on Mental Health
School has several impacts on mental health. Students can find it challenging to maintain balance because of academic stress. They might be more likely to develop depression or anxiety as a result of peer pressure, academic stress, or technology. This makes students more susceptible to loneliness, isolation, substance abuse to manage symptoms of depression or anxiety, and even dropouts.
Peer pressure in school can have a significant impact on mental health. Many young people feel pressured to:
- Perform well on standardized tests
- Get perfect grades
- Participate in several extracurricular activities
- Go to college
All of this can force students to be overwhelmed, taking on more activities and prep courses or tutoring sessions than they can truly fit into their schedule. This additional stress can impede essential socialization or academic pursuits, making children more likely to develop mental health disorders, especially depression and anxiety.
Studies indicate academic stress can lead to:
- Poor academic achievement
- Decreased motivation
- Mental health problems
- Sleep disturbances
- High rates of substance abuse
- Risk of dropout
There is another school impact mental health changes are confirming that has to do with technology. The evolution of technology and the integration of digital devices throughout the home because of COVID has made it difficult for students to acquire knowledge when they face things like Wi-Fi dropping out, video not loading correctly, or pages disappearing.
Connectivity issues aside, there are other struggles, such as being unable to ask the teacher questions or learn from peers. These devices also bring with them a high risk of distraction for students, which can impede learning. A typical classroom environment is much more conducive to learning than a child’s bedroom or messy kitchen table.
School Impact Mental Health Help Tips
While things like exposure to peer pressure, academic stress, and friends can influence mental health, there are things you can do to help.
Studies indicate that students who are supported, given help for academics, and supported in maintaining good mental health are more likely to avoid the stress and challenges of school.
Balance in the Home
Some of the best ways for parents, guardians, or friends to support their loved ones and reduce the impact of school on mental health is to pivot focus from overachievement to balance.
Parents who want the best for their children might be the source of stress and anxiety. Parents need to be the ones to clearly communicate that it’s essential to maintain a balance between work and social life, even at a young age.
Facilitating this by encouraging social activities, not overwhelming students with sports or study groups, and not stressing the importance of perfect grades in every class is best.
Parents can also help their children decrease or manage symptoms of depression and anxiety with self-help techniques like:
- Meditation, especially before bed
- Regular breaks while doing homework
The more the family is involved in these self-help techniques, the more effective they will be because they’ll be recognized as family activities and things that everyone supports. This might include setting aside one night per week where the family doesn’t do any work or homework and instead relaxes together with games, movies, or outdoor activities.
It can involve family meditation or yoga sessions every day.
However, in some cases, the impact of school on mental health can be severe enough that children require professional help. The sooner you recognize the need for things like therapy and professional mental health treatment, the better it will be for your child’s outcome or for yourself.
Facilities like Water Gap Wellness Center offer several outpatient mental health treatment programs that can accommodate school schedules. These programs cater to several types of mental health disorders, particularly depression and anxiety, providing coping skills, techniques for changing automatic thoughts, and managing self-care.
Contact our team today at (877) 414-3281 to learn how you can get help for the impact of school on mental health.