In a perfect world, a student’s well-being would come first, but in Key West, the Key West High School (KWHS) students feel differently about how our Monroe County school system prioritizes mental health.
In a recent anonymous survey across KWHS students, 82.1% of the students said that teachers should consider mental health when assigning work. Likewise, an anonymous KWHS student agreed with the statistic. “Sometimes there isn’t a reason for my mental health being so bad,” stated the student. “[and] then when I am given a ton of work, I make it more important than my mindset.”
Teachers are well aware of how education can affect students. KWHS requires a mental health assessment at the beginning and end of every year to establish where each individual is. However, even with the results, teachers do not make changes to how their work is potentially affecting the kids. “When I get a million assignments, I just don’t care about the work I do anymore,” explained another KWHS student. “The extreme mood swings and emotions affect my behavior and my performance academically.”
When reading the answers from the survey, I was shocked at how many similar responses I saw. Ranging from “panic attacks” to “crying every day over Advanced Placement (AP) classes,” it shows how so many teenagers are walking on the same plank. From the survey, 100% of students said that schoolwork does indeed affect their mental health.
While it’s college application season, seniors have been stressing about whether they will get into their dream school or not. Siddharth Singh, a senior at KWHS, expresses how the college application process has taken a toll on his mental life. “The amount of nights I have stayed up stressing if I am good enough to get into any said colleges is immeasurable,” stated Singh. “I have based every aspect of my life into looking good for colleges that it’s too much to handle sometimes.”
Even though a group learning environment is a traditional way of educating students, maybe there is an alternative option to incorporate the two students’ factors: a high school diploma and a healthy mindset. “We should have an individualized education plan,” said another KWHS student from the survey. “I’ve noticed the more my peers and I control the pace we work, the more we end up comprehending.”
Prioritizing your mental health over school isn’t easy, especially with the outside influences involved, but realizing that it’s happening in the first step. “I was always taught at a young age that school comes first, no matter what,” shared Isabella Montejano, a junior at KWHS.
Once you recognize the issue, the solution becomes clearer. “Those with mental health issues should have a space and a person to communicate with to make sure they have appropriate and reasonable accommodations,” stated a KWHS student from the survey.
The school should decide what they will put first: the kids or their grades. If you are struggling with your mental health, click here for more information on how to improve it.