Mental health in School
By Keira Khattar, Voices of Society Editor, The Pawprint
In the doctrine of human rights, people and children around the world have the right to education and the right to happiness. However, it is ironic how one can so commonly affect the other. Family, environment, bullying and academic problems are some of the leading causes of depression and anxiety in children at school. 1 in 3 college students experience depression and anxiety from related causes. In addition to that, most students are heavily sleep deprived with the majority of middle school and high school students beginning their day at around 6am and ending it well past 10pm. This leaves students basically no time to develop life skills or enjoy the day. To add on, more than 75% of students who experience anxiety or depression are extremely reluctant to receive help as a result of the taboo around therapy and mental illnesses.
Mental health is a hard topic to talk to anyone about. Opening up about struggles puts people in their most vulnerable state which many people are uncomfortable with. Many schools in Dubai are trying to remove the “awkwardness” around the discussion of mental health. Seminars and assemblies about mental health have become a regular, and the employment of mental health counselors in schools that students can reach out to have become a resource. Although a valuable resource, many students don’t go to school counselors because of the fear that counselors will inform their parents of what they are going through. In DAA, Mr. Paul Stavely is the head of the mental health counseling team and has created a platform called “Dear Diego” that allows students to anonymously submit any questions they may have for counselors or any confessions they may want to make. Counselors and teachers in DAA are trying their hardest to create an environment that is safe and enjoyable for all students.
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