When one thinks about therapy, the first thought that comes to mind is: expensive. Most people regard therapy as a luxury rather than a necessity. It is also a stereotype that it is something to be used by white people. This is where the problems that lead to an unhealthy mental state begin.
-By Francineth Bauleth
Therapy by definition is:
“Treatment intended to relieve or heal a disorder”, and secondly, “The treatment of mental or psychological disorders by psychological means.” This means that in no way, shape or form is therapy directed towards one religion, gender, ethnicity or age group. This brings me to why I think therapy should be normalised and compulsory in high schools.
In my research, I discovered an article written by John van der Linde for The Namibian newspaper. He quotes statistics that show one in every 10 children, an average of three in every classroom, has a diagnosable mental health problem, and 75% of mental health problems in grown-ups can be traced back to their childhood. Examples of health problems include anxiety, depression, substance abuse, eating disorders and learning disabilities.
Further research that I inferred is that the youth of today can also be affected by conduct disorders, psychosis, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and suicide. Mental disorders/illnesses have negative effects on teenagers, because they have an influence on our thoughts, self-esteem, emotions, behavior and just our development in general. This is why teenagers in high school are at higher risk to develop mental illnesses or disorders and will benefit more from professional counseling.
Therapy will allow us to talk about our fears, verbalize our feelings, solve our problems and help us overcome anxiety, depression and addiction without feeling ashamed and it will be easier to access this counseling if the therapy sessions are conducted in high schools. There are different forms of counseling like cognitive-behavioral, family and interpersonal therapies and educational interventions. Support groups in schools would be of the utmost help, because they would grant teenagers a place to express themselves in a positive and conducive environment.
Misconception about Therapy
The misconception that most people have is that if you go to therapy then you are weird, mentally disturbed, white or between your late 20’s and early 40’s going through a midlife crisis. This needs to be addressed, because anyone can have mental health problems and anyone can experience trauma.
Mental health does not deserve all the stigmatization it receives and needs to be normalised, especially in schools.
Mental health problems are just like any other health problems.
If they’re not attended to at an early stage, they could lead to a toxic or psychotic mental state. There should be more mental health campaigns in high schools to shed light on a topic not normally discussed about and a therapist or social worker should be placed in high schools. In this day and age, therapy is needed more than ever.
Teenagers seem to be finding it harder to love and appreciate themselves. We are under immense pressure and we are perceived as the generation that is self-absorbed, when all we are trying to do is find ourselves and our purpose.
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