According to a poll conducted by NPR, “Almost 40 percent of parents say their high schooler is experiencing a lot of stress from school.” I remember all we did in preschool was eat, sleep, play, and learn numbers and letters here and there. Those were about the happiest days of my life, but as we get older, school gets harder.
I’m in the 7th grade, and it’s not hard to say that I feel pretty burnt out. Over the past few months, I’ve been struggling with my mental health. I don’t feel comfortable anymore at school, where I feel most terrible. I find it hard to do anything but be on the computer all day, and I don’t like to leave the house. I enjoy some things, but getting started seems like such a burden. Thinking about it seems like so much, and I’m only in middle school. What’s high school going to be like?
Mental health struggles like this are why school boards need to hire more counselors and therapists to help high school students struggling with school and their mental health. Bad mental health leaves students with a lack of motivation and a sense of hopelessness, and in-school therapists are a source to go to for help.
Therapy is beneficial for anyone dealing with big issues or small ones. Loads of work, getting enough sleep, social issues, and the stress of soon going to college are only a few of the problems high schoolers may have to deal with for four years straight. These might seem like your average teen situations; however, burnout becomes an issue when your small, occasional, motivational stress turns into big, everyday, overwhelming stress. That’s what burnout is. Understood.org says, “Burnout is a state of mental, physical, or emotional exhaustion. Burnout in children happens when kids are faced with ongoing stress or frustration with no chance to relax or recharge.” Burnout can be the cause or effect of many different mental issues, like depression or anxiety. Children can lose motivation for school and any other activity and can be left feeling unaccomplished or unhappy.
So why can’t more children go to therapy? The cost is one of the biggest reasons families don’t look for therapy. Therapy can be expensive and might be too much to fit into a child’s schedule. However, it’s much easier to create a plan with a school counselor and make time for a session during one’s school day. That said, the rate of counselors in schools is devastatingly low. The American School Counselor Association shows that the student-to-counselor ratio in the 2021-2022 school year was 408-1, heaps of students higher than the recommended ratio of 250-1. This is not ideal because too many children are going without help, and depressed high schoolers are two times more likely to become high school dropouts. Having built-in, free, and easy-access therapists for students to talk to could be a game changer, ultimately creating a better environment in school.
We have to find a way to get more counselors in school. This is why I am encouraging school boards to put more counselors in high schools for students struggling with school or their mental health. It will never be an automatic fix, but with help, we can move forward and get closer to the recommended ratio of 250-1. Students will feel happier and safer being in school. They can be better motivated to get a good education, which should be the main goal for every child. Kids will not have to worry about being able to go to school, a supposed safe place where they spend most of their time, without feeling a mental or emotional breakdown coming on. Let’s fundraise, spread awareness, do whatever it takes, and high school can be just almost as much fun as preschool once was.