Why aren’t young people taught about mental health?

Young people look at their cell phones during school breaks.Photo by Marcel van den Berg/De Volkskrant

Half of young people in the Netherlands indicate that they are in school Little attention It is for their mental health at school, even though they need it. Both teachers and students lack knowledge and skills related to basic mental health principles. How does tension arise? How does our mind manipulate reality? What strategies can you apply to make yourself more resilient in the face of this?

But while we teach young people about chloroplasts, writing sonnets, and applying cosines, we pay no attention to behavioral development, psychological complaints, or general brain development. However, these aspects have a huge impact on our daily lives.

About the author
Leanne Weinholt He is a developmental psychologist.

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Psychology is not a separate subject, rather it is part of every aspect of our lives. From how we communicate to the way we experience the world around us. For example, our prejudices based on our experiences and beliefs constantly influence the way we experience the world and the way we interpret information. This has a direct impact on our behavior and interaction with the environment. Think about the way we form groups and judge others from there.

Respect my self

These psychological principles form the basis for young people’s development and place in society. If we want to teach them the skills needed to increase their independence and boost their self-esteem, psychology lessons are simply indispensable.

In addition, it is essential that young people have access to reliable information and have the opportunity to understand this information. Integrating it into the curriculum through knowledge transfer, practical assignments and class discussions would greatly enhance this. In this way, we prevent young people from self-diagnosing, with all the risks associated with it: false conclusions based on self-help books, Instagram videos, and TikTok videos.

Millions of views

After all, videos about mental disorders are very popular among young people, receiving millions of views. However, the information in these videos can easily be misinterpreted, or simply not true. Many videos show general, recognizable characteristics, such as mood swings or forgetfulness, which are then associated (often incorrectly) with a psychiatric disorder.

a teenager asks in the video Titled “Who Can Call?” For viewers who recognize the symptoms of depression she suffers from: feeling sad, overeating, and sleepless nights. Then responses pour in from young people who identify themselves and conclude that they are suffering from depression.

It was taken out of context

The traits discussed in these videos are completely general and simply part of life. Because the information is taken out of context, wrong conclusions are drawn. We can reduce these negative consequences by providing young people with reliable information that gives them the tools to become more resilient.

I am convinced that this type of education will have a preventive effect and enhance the mental health of young people. Research shows that psychoeducation Not only does it contribute to increasing understanding and reducing stigmas, but it also gives young people more control over their emotions and behaviour. They develop self-regulation skills and adapt their behavior more easily to the situation.

This is why I demand the inclusion of psychology lessons in secondary education. So that young people can access reliable information, gain more knowledge of their own world and, most importantly, can take control of their own development. After all, you can only understand yourself and modify your behavior when you have knowledge of the reasons behind those behaviors. The ultimate goal? A resilient, resilient and psychologically healthy generation.

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