Heritage Edition – Debate Column: Is School Really to Blame for a Decline in Mental Health?

Images via NPR

Images via NPR

Aubrie Sandoval, Writer

When you think about school, many people talk about how it has lent a hand towards the steady growth in depression, anxiety, and overall mental illness issues that spread over us as we move forward in our years of education. However, I believe it’s also important to differentiate and be firm in the fact that while school can be stressful and irksome, there are also other causes such as stress over the stability of any kind, poor relationships with family and friends, etc, etc. 

Gen Z or Zoomers as TikTok has taken to calling us has the belief that school is why they are depressed, which may be true for some individuals, but overall, the reason for such high depression rates is usually a lack of control over a situation in your life. For example, if you’re worried that you might not be able to pay rent on time or purchase food, that can lead to an increase in stress which is known to have a negative effect on anxiety and depression. Chronic pain has also been scientifically proven to make people more depressed. So if you have an injury or just constant pain in general that can cause your mental health to become bad and/or overwhelming. 

Another reason school isn’t necessarily the cause for an increase in mental illness is because while yes the workload is a lot and most of the time makes people want to rip their hair out, it is actually the lack of control they have over the amount of work they are receiving. For example, my dog got cancer, which is sad, but it was the fact that I couldn’t do anything in that situation that actually made me feel more depressed than her being sick. If I could have made it better or had some sway in the decisions leading up to her being put down, I think I would have handled the situation better than just shutting down. 

There are so many reasons why depression and mental illness as a whole are quite bad, however, I believe it is the reasons around school that make it so easy to say it’s the school itself that is the reason for the problems. As we’ve ‘discussed’ here today, a lack of control/boundaries and a variety of situations of any sort can lead to a decline in mental and physical health. I hope that whatever is happening in your life is going well and that you have a good day soon.