Every day, kids all over the world struggle with their emotions and there are not enough resources for these kids to get help. Growing up can be tough, and mental health is often a taboo subject that is overlooked in schools and society. This should not be glossed over.

Because of the stress that students of all walks of life contend with, schools should have a class dedicated to taking real care of yourself. Ultimately, mental health and self-love are not promoted enough and need to be emphasized.

Self-care is essential for our mental health, so a self-care class in schools could help teens enforce that practice in their daily lives. Factors such as sleep, exercise, play and meditation make an immense difference in someone’s mental health.

A Stress in America survey found that “30 percent of teens reported feeling sad or depressed because of stress and 31 percent felt overwhelmed. Another 36 percent said that stress makes them tired and 23 percent said they’ve skipped meals because of it.”

Teenagers are exposed to so much that could affect their mental health: demands to succeed in school, stress about college admissions, potential bullying, pressure to keep up with peers, inclusion and exclusion from social groups, contending with drugs and alcohol, family dynamics, and much more.

A consistent healthy routine can help students cope with these many stressors life throws at them, but students need to know how to initiate this routine. A class at school emphasizing self-care would teach this.

After taking a poll at my school, I found that only 28% of students have a decompression routine. Most of the students polled said they “don’t have enough time” to focus on themselves. I think that is precisely why it needs to be emphasized.

We are taught that we have to do homework, but no one teaches us the importance of taking care of ourselves. No one tells us that stress can lead to a slew of physical health problems in the future. If we teach kids the simplicity of taking care of our mental health early on, people will be more prepared if they tumble upon hardships throughout their lives.

I just want you to know that you are indeed normal if you are struggling with your mental health. I believe kids would feel less stressed, if only we STRESSED mental health! In a very crazy world, the need for healthy outlets and proper self-care seems all the more urgent.

Mia LaFayette

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