Education and Depression

If you have depression, you know just how much it can affect your life. But did you know it can have an impact on your education as well? Depression can be debilitating and embarrassing, which makes it all the more important to consider when you are considering applying to college. If untreated, there could be more than embarrassment associated with your depression. Untreated depression can lead to other health concerns, such as weight gain, and anxiety.

Major depression is the second leading cause of disability in the world. It is also the leading cause of suicide. Schools, classrooms, and students don’t seem to be immune from it. In fact, statistics indicate one in four teens and one in ten college students experience mental health disorders. So, can I still go to school even with depression? This answer is complex. It may be helpful to know that many schools have developed mental health programs that include ways to identify students’ mental health concerns and how to address them effectively.

Depression can be scary. It can make going to school seem impossible. But it’s normal to feel that way, but there are ways that you can learn to cope.

What Teachers Should Know:

Teachers must know the telltale signs that might mean a particular student is experiencing depression– Depression can have immediate and long-term effects on the mental and physical health of students. Teachers should know that depressed students can exhibit a variety of behaviors, including an inability to concentrate, sadness, apathy, depression, and suicidal thoughts. At the minimum, teachers should be aware of the symptoms that can indicate that a student is depressed and report them immediately if they suspect that a student is in danger.

Teachers must know each student’s behaviors that might be suicide warning signs:

  1. Talking about wanting to die or killing oneself.
  2. Talking about feeling hopeless, trapped, or like life is not worth living.
  3. Talking about intense anger or rage.
  4. Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain or having intense physical sensations.
  5. Talking about extreme mood swings.
  6. Talking about being embarrassed by own actions or behavior.
  7. Talking about being violently impulsive or acting recklessly.

Teachers should be aware for their students have depression and act of suicide– Teachers should thoroughly understand suicide prevention methods. They should know how to identify common warning signs in students and learn how to respond appropriately.

  • Notify the parents that their child has attempted suicide
  • Help the student at risk for suicide
  • Supervise the student at a risk
  • What teachers can do – Teachers have one of the most important jobs in the world, and if they do their jobs correctly, they will instill a love of learning in every student they teach. 
  • Offer Support and encouragement. Teacher-student relationships are important. In the heat of a classroom debate, a parent-teacher conference, or a student’s performance review, a teacher can become a trusted confidant. When a student feels depression, however, this trust can be tested.
  • Give them extra time to complete their assignments. Studying and completing assignments can become daunting when you are coping with mental illness. Therefore, teachers should do whatever they can to help their students. When students make excuses instead of doing the work, teachers have to find ways to compensate for the lack of effort.
  • Make an extra activity a part of your daily classroom routine. To help students stay engaged, active, and challenged, teachers need to plan ahead and create a physical classroom environment that students look forward to going to every day.
  • Make short-term practices a part of everyday instruction. Mindfulness is a perfect short-term practice to adopt. There are simple ways by which teachers can start incorporating mindfulness practices into the school every day. It’s not just about setting aside some quiet time each day, but mindfulness is about being present in the moment, which can significantly help students with depression.

Going to school with depression is not easy. It’s can feel impossible at times. However, students and teachers who struggle with depression often find ways to cope with this mental ailment. Seeking adequate medical treatment can also help students.

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