Mental health of students has been a rising topic of conversation these past few years.One area the school could do more to support mental health is to regulate students’ workload.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website, “Mental health includes our emotional, psychological and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make healthy choices.”
Mental health is just as important as physical health and needs to be acknowleged and supported by the school.
The root of the problem is in the workload assigned to students. The courses of many of their classes are imbalanced. Certain classes have rigorous coursework, while in others one can sit on their phone the entire time and still pass the class. The homework in classes is also imbalanced. On certain days, students will have upwards of two hours on homework for one class and absolutely no homework in another.
The homework on the weekend is also a contributing factor. Students have noticed that teachers tend to assign more homework than they typically do during the week. Typically, students have spent at least an hour on homework over the weekend. Students spending a large amount of time on homework over the weekend, rather than spending time doing things that make them happy can be damaging to their mental health.
According to principal Matt Irvin, his old school Mary Institute and Saint Louis Country Day School (MICDS) had homework-free weekends to help support the mental health of their students. While something like that has not been implemented here at Webster, Irvin said if the school could effectively implement it, it would be taken into consideration.
Another problem for students is too many tests scheduled. Students can find themselves cramming in to study for multiple tests scheduled for the same day. This can lead to unnecessary stress, anxiety and the feeling of being overwhelmed.
At one of Irvin’s old schools, he said a test calendar was in place. Certain subjects could only schedule tests for certain days to prevent overcrowding students’ schedules. Irvin did not say if the school would be willing to consider a test schedule as a possibility.
The regular overwhelming schedule for Webster students, whether tests, homework or schoolwork, causes strain on students’ mental health. Students often feel overwhelmed and stressed out by school.
The school should reconsider its strategy for schoolwork. Considering implementing homework free weekends could be a good start. The school could also take into consideration a test schedule to help take away some stress from students.
As for the students there are a few different ways they can try to manage their stress. If one is dealing with stress, the student can talk to a trusted adult about what they are going through. Also, multiple classes offered help with stress and anxiety.
One is Kinetic Wellness, which is designed to help with stress management. Another class, introduced by senior Olivia Hotze, called Holistic Health and Wellness helps students focus on aspects of both their physical and mental health. While it is good the school offers these options, they are only useful if students have time to fit it in their schedule, which many of them do not.
There are multiple different ways the school can help support the mental health of the students. There are also ways that students can work together with the school to help improve their mental health. Mental health is one of the most important aspects of life, and it needs to be valued more in school.