An Open Letter To Schools Everywhere.

I have been in education for over 10 years, 10 + years of school. It’s a very long time of my very short life. In my time in education, I have come to realise that the priorities the school has, are completely wrong. Don’t get me wrong there are teachers who care. There are teachers who genuinely care about your mental and physical health and would always put them before your “education”. However, the sad reality of it is that they are overruled and overpowered by teachers, boards and governments who only want the best results academically. They want the A’s and A*’s, they want the 5+ GCSE’s, they are so fixed on what they “need” they refuse to accept that there are genuine issues which massively impact a student’s ability to reach these levels, they are so set on what they want they just disregard those students who are unable to reach their idea of “perfect”. During my last couple of years in school, I came to realise just how ignorant teachers, students and the government can be when it comes to health; especially mental health. 1 in 4 people will experience mental health issues at least once in their life. Most of these issues stem from their childhood. These statistics are too shocking to just sweep under the carpet. If schools became more educated on mental health and became open about talking about it, maybe people would start to get the help they need. As a school it’s your job to put your students first, this should mean prioritising students and teachers for that matter, mental health first. In the 5 years, I have attended high school, I can count on one hand a number of times mental health has been spoken about or mentioned. It is not okay. Something needs to be done, and it needs to be done now.

They say ignorance is bliss but I find yours rather disturbing.

Altogether there are around 1,500 of us. That is a lot of people, we have the power we need to make a positive impact. Together we can make the change that is so desperately needed. As a school, we may not have the top grades and we may not be ‘outstanding’ according to Ofsted but we can show everyone we care. Recently my school was involved in a ‘Mental Health Day’ which was amazing, it was so lovely to realise that the school is trying to educate not only staff but students too. However, we shouldn’t stop there. We need to do more. Don’t have a ‘Mental Health Day’ then go back to radio silence. It needs to be constant. I am not asking for another day off timetable to discuss the effects of dementia, stress and anxiety, although great, I do still understand that our education is massively important. But I don’t think we should stop, we should constantly be trying to get Mental Health talked about, as a school we have the platform to educate. Let’s use this platform not only to educate students on Macbeth and Pythagoras theorem but to educate everyone on the importance of self-love and acceptance, let’s educate everyone on depression, anxiety, bipolar and ADHD, let’s educate everyone on Mental Health. And let’s do it now.

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