Community Magazine

Another Way of Explaining Stigma …

By Gran13


Another way of explaining stigma is society’s negative response to people with a mental illness. Stigma is increasingly being recognized as a major public health challenge as well as a barrier to recovery.

Schools, by and large, address the difficult and disruptive behaviors of students by using suspension and even expulsion in extreme cases instead of proactive measures designed to keep them in the school system.

I wonder what schools can do. I think that the school environment is the right place to start the work of addressing mental health. It provides a cost effective way of reaching these young people.

Our schools can implement mental health promotion strategies by enhancing knowledge on mental health and so change attitudes in both the students as well as the teachers, and so decrease the stigma associated with this illness. Schools will implement mental health by becoming sites for mental health care delivery.

The principals I have spoken to agree that bullying and harassment, impulse control and anger management are the top emotional mental health and well-being issues in their schools. Here are some of their comments:

 “I see more mental health issues than in the past.”

 “A.D.D. (Attention deficit disorder) as well as ADHD (Attention deficit hyperactivity disorders) plus autism spectrum disorder and dyslexia are pressing disorders in my school today. Anxiety disorders and depression are too.”

She continued: “The lack of adequate staff trained to deal with children’s mental illness is a potential barrier to providing adequate mental health services. So is the lack of funding. I feel that addressing mental illness is not considered a priority in our schools today so acts as a barrier to helping needy students.”

There is a lack of co-ordination between school and parents.”

 “We can increase teachers’ knowledge of mental health, develop an action plan to help students, promote a healthy learning environment via instructional teahniques that take into account individual styles of learning.”

I have researched the subject and have in my possession a ready-made program from the USA on how to implement this program in our schools. All I need is someone at the education department to ask for it.


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