Hegemonic societal structures and ideas are planted into children's heads when they start going to school. They are told they need to write down their dream job, have an assembly with an entrepreneur who went to University and became rich. Even just deciding which courses to choose for your GCSE's and A Levels is pushed from a young age.
It is not an easy decision and so many life curve balls could destroy someone's intended path. Young people are made to choose their career and told what is expected from them from day one. This is a major factor causing the rise of mental health cases across the globe in teenagers. Ill mental health is a very serious global issue regarding every age demographic. Statistics have now shown that according to https://mhfaengland.org/ 'Half of mental ill health starts by age 15 and 75% develops by age 18'. We can start to wonder why this may be. Why are so many young people from the ages of 15 to 18 suffering with ill mental health.
Teenagers are not yet fully developed, mentally and physically. They have not yet experienced the world of work, the pressures, what to expect, and yet they are made to decide what they will dedicate themselves to.
Adults only really know what job they are happy in when they have a go at one and experience it. Some adults may go through five jobs before even being happy in one. Many adults admit that they are not in a job they originally wanted to be in, but they are still happy.
Why is this so damaging?
In order to get a job in this couldn't day and age, you must have the correct qualification's. This is why teenagers are made to choose the correct courses for their intended future career. The issue with this is, when they become adults and they change their minds on what they want to do or be, they have the wrong qualifications and they cannot change the career path. This is a very stressful and difficult situation because it means that young people have to consider how they will feel on their career in the future due to this block.
Exam stress is now becoming a major worry. With the expectancy of teenagers getting good grades to go to university and to get a job, is causing so many young people to suffer from anxiety and even depression. Because the knowledge that not getting good grades means they can't do the courses they need for their intended job is being embedded into their heads, it is making it even tougher for student's.
With mental health rising in students their childhood's are becoming less of a happy experience. Someone's teenage years, are supposed to be the best and most fun times of their lives. But, with this pressure from schools and parents it is becoming a very damaging time of someones life.
Are your school years really the best time of your life?...
After interviewing a 16 year old student doing her GCSE'S she stated that she "would not want to go back to school" and "it has not been the best time of her life." Many people ask if students enjoy school but the generation in whom ask this question, did not have these modern day pressures.
It is a whole difference experience.
What can be done?
Prioritising your time when revising can help reduce anxiety and stress. When teenage students are facing tough times during exam periods, it is important that they don't focus all their attention upon revising. Taking some time to breathe will help. Going outside, having quality time with friends helps to take your mind off whatever is worrying you.
The education system has become tougher. Students take certain subjects, that will help them get into their future career. What it doesn't include is how to deal with the stress and pressures of life. It doesn't prepare teenagers for adult life. It doesn't give them advice, teaching and productive sessions of mindfulness that could really benefit them. If these sessions were offered it could potentially bring down the mental health spike we are experiencing.
Social media has a major impact on teenagers thoughts. What they see could potentially change someones opinion and even identity. Social media has the ability to connect with students the same way Tik tok trends do. Helpful videos for students struggling with exams and decision making. Schools promoting apps to help with mindfulness. If technology is the only way a teenager can take time away from stress, then it should be used in a beneficial way to reach them during their most difficult times.
https://www.mayoclinic.org/ have recorded that 97% of teenagers use a social media platform, such as YouTube, Facebook, Instagram or Snap chat'. This is a remarkable statistic. In this technologised world, this infomation should be focused on by schools, colleges and Universities. They should use social media to help students battling with mental health struggles. It is the modern way of connecting globally and locally. Supporting students in this mental health crisis is crucial.