Mental illnesses in childhood: the importance of normalizing mental health care from school

However, unfortunately, mental health is still surrounded by myths, shame and some stigma that does not give as much attention as it should.

However, many of us suffer at some time in our lives some mental health problem, such as anxiety or depression, two of the most common. In fact, our children and adolescents are also exposed to the risk of suffering from these diseases.

So much so that depression in adolescence is much more common than is believed, is the first cause of illness or disability in adolescents, and can even degenerate into suicides.

Therefore it is especially important that from an early age we begin to pay attention and take care of our mental health. For this, education has part of the key, both that we receive at home and at school.

School programs for mental health care

Increasingly, public and political opinion is aware of this and, little by little, concrete programs are beginning to be implemented in schools in a way that helps our children take care of their mental health and be aware of the importance of.

In the United States, some states such as Florida or Oregon have already proposed concrete measures. Thus, in Florida, students between the ages of 11 and 18 will receive at least five hours of mental health classes per year.

The idea is that students are able to recognize the signs of mental illness, and know-how to seek help, in addition to learning to know how to treat, how to help and what to say to other classmates who are going through something similar and know the resources of that they have.

On the other hand, in Oregon, students will have the possibility of asking for a “free” or “low” day for mental illness, similar to those that could be taken if they had any physical illness. This is much more important than it sounds, not only because it puts mental and physical illnesses on the same level, but because it can help relieve some pressure or shame that those who suffer from it can feel.

Knowing that we can have legal and accepted days to take care of our mental health and that they are recognized, can help us break down the stigma and shame of admitting that we have a mental illness that forces us to stop and stop considering it as something rare. Thanks to the recognition of these days off, a path to normalization opens.

Although these measures have not yet arrived in Spain, they are being claimed, and we hope that the trend initiated in other countries will come to ours soon.

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