Recently I created a survey and posted it on Twitter, asking people to respond. This survey was all about people’s experience of education on mental health, particularly as a teenager. I had 31 responses from people and I’m so grateful to everyone who took the time to answer it. This infographic was created by the information I collected from the survey.
The information I managed to collect sadly didn’t surprise me but reaffirmed what I had feared about the state of education on mental health. Ever since I was 11, I have had 2 hours a year in PSHE looking at mental health. That’s totalling about 10 hours of education on mental health in my entire life. That’s shocking and I’m certainly not alone, in fact I’m one of the lucky ones because I have taught about it at school at all.
Before I get on to exploring what the survey responses showed me, I want to talk a little bit about what inspired me to write this post. About a month ago, I read the book Am I Normal Yet? by Holly Bourne and absolutely adored it. This book tackles the tough issue of mental health and I think everyone should read it. Instead of writing a review where I just fangirled solidly for 10 minutes, I decided to write this post instead. I wanted to explore how educated people felt they were on mental health and what their education on the topic was like when they were a teenager at school.
The main character Evie worries about telling her friends about her OCD and her struggles with mental health because she thinks they won’t understand and will judge her. I wanted to see how real that fear is. How many people have learn about mental health and would be able to begin to understand.
Much to my dismay 61% of people were never taught about mental health at school at any age, meaning they would only be able to learn from either personal experience or forms of media like TV, film and literature.So few people have actually learnt about mental health, how can we expect people to understand what their friends, their family or even they are going through? And those that were taught about mental health? 81% said they were either very unhappy, quite unhappy or indifferent about their education on mental health. Education is meant to equip and empower people, and education especially as important as this should be something people feel positive about.
I feel this post might be the most important one I’ve ever written. We need to realise how few people have been taught about mental health. How can we expect people to understand when they don’t even know what’s happening?
We need to educate children and teenagers all over the world. It couldn’t be more vital. We need to educate so people understand what is happening to them and how they can help their family and friends. We need to educate so we can remove stigma. We need to educate so we can be a better world full of better people.