When thinking about mental health and what affects it, many things come to mind. People think about their family history, genetics, relationships, and careers. What they may not think about is how does school affect mental health? Even though many people reflect on their school days as carefree, the reality is that school can be quite stressful. For a variety of reasons, this can affect a person’s mental health both while in school and long after they graduate.
How Does School Affect Mental Health?
Not everyone has the same school experience. Many factors can influence a person’s education and the impact it has on them. Circumstances can change throughout the decade-plus trip from elementary school to high school graduation. In addition, these same circumstances factor into a person’s college education. How does school affect mental health? Let’s look at the various ways it can throw roadblocks in front of students from all backgrounds and walks of life.
Levels of Education
Many people hold the belief that the higher level of education a person obtains, the happier they will be. This, in turn, equates with enjoying better mental health than those who have fewer degrees or spend less time in school. Having one or more college degrees can mean earning more money and having more opportunities. For many, this helps them avoid conditions like anxiety or depression. However, it is not a guarantee against poor mental health. In fact, many highly-educated people suffer from poor mental health, sometimes due to not finding that advanced degrees equated to an easy ride in life. They feel a poor sense of self-esteem and that they did not live up to expectations coming from themselves, loved ones, and society in general.
At the same time, many people who do not obtain college-level degrees or complete high school report experiencing poor mental health. They feel their vocational choices in life are limited, including their ability to earn a comfortable living. This can also lead to mental health disorders like anxiety disorders and depression.
Socio-Economics of Education
The idea of the American dream involves everyone being able to achieve anything they want. However, not everyone has an easy time making what they want of themselves. A student who has unlimited access to funds for schooling has a great advantage over someone living below the poverty level. For those on the lower end of the income scale, trying to get into good schools can definitely affect their mental health. When they have fewer educational choices, this can disrupt how they see themselves and the opportunities they can achieve.
Parental and Peer Pressure
Students of all ages often put pressure on themselves to do well in school. In addition, a lot of pressure can come from other sources. Well-meaning parents may want to push their child to do well but instead, create a pressure-filled environment that stresses out their son or daughter. They may demand their child put in an unreasonable amount of time studying or only earn straight As. Because of this, many students develop depression, anxiety disorders, and other types of mental health disorders.
Peer pressure can also factor into a person developing poor mental health.
Students compete against each other for good grades, placement in advanced classes, and acceptance into colleges. They also often feel competitive in terms of extracurricular activities, including sports and the performing arts. This kind of pressure can contribute to feelings of anxiety and depression.
The pandemic created a worldwide need for students to attend classes virtually. While the upside of allowing children to continue to go to school existed, this alternative plan is not without its drawbacks. For many kids, the change was too dramatic and challenging. Mastering the art of being alone in front of a computer instead of among peers proved painful. As well, they did not receive the same level of personal attention when their teacher could only contact them virtually.
Even under more positive circumstances, such as attending school virtually to avoid a commute, it can cause a decline in mental health. Many students suffer from isolation, as well as feel ill at ease speaking up in a virtual environment.
When wondering “How does school affect mental health?”, many people do not consider the influence of technology. On the one hand, the resources available online, including search engines and instant contact with teachers and students via messaging and texting, can be terrific. On the other hand, the vast amount of distractions online can impact a person’s ability to focus.
A student may try to write a paper, do research, or study, but have their attention pulled in multiple directions. These include texting, instant messaging, checking social media, video gaming, and general web surfing. Over time, this creates difficulty in focusing, including attention-deficit-type symptoms. When a student finds they cannot get one simple task done because of all the online distractions, they can develop poor mental health symptoms.
Get Mental Health Treatment Today in Atlanta, GA
Do you worry about how does school affect mental health? Even if you left school years ago, the impact of it can have far-reaching effects. New View Wellness in Atlanta offers a world-class program of outpatient treatment plans designed to improve your mental health. We treat a variety of mental health disorders with proven therapy modalities that help ease symptoms. Our goal is to help you take charge of your mental health.
If you want to find more information on treating a mental health disorder, visit our admissions page now. We’d love to answer any questions you have.