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Mental Health in the Workplace and In School

The term mental health refers to the- emotional, psychological, and social well-being of a person. It is at the base of our effective functioning as human beings. It affects us wholly, how we think, feel, and act, and at every stage of life, from childhood to adulthood, passing through the often-difficult adolescence. It is much more than just the absence of a mental disorder; it is an important balance, essential for our physical and psychological wellness, produced by a combination of strictly linked factors such as: social, cultural, and spiritual, which contribute to shaping our overall mental state. 

The lack of this equilibrium can create a wide range of mental conditions; many different aspects contribute to the development of these issues, including biological factors such as genes or brain chemistry, life experiences, such as traumas or abuses, and a family history of such problems. For instance, a child raised by a parent with depression is more likely to develop a mental issue because children tend to look up to their parents, thus, are highly influenced by their actions and behaviors. Examples of mental health disorders include schizophrenia, anxiety, depression, addictive behavior, and eating problems. All these issues can result in a worse quality of life if not treated properly.

Stress is one of the major and most common trigger causes of mental problems in the workplace or at school. Reasons behind these problems vary from case to case, but usually there is a specific pattern of events that can influence the personal well-being of students or workers. 

Having to cope daily with difficult situations at work can put one’s mental well-being at risk. Work plays a huge role in our overall welfare and health. A positive, cohesive, and united workplace can add meaning, structure, and purpose to one’s identity and life, in general. On the other hand, a negative environment can take a heavy toll on a person's mental health, indirectly affecting all other areas of their life. 

Long shifts with no breaks, increased workload, having to perform many different tasks (especially those for which the employee is untrained), and excessive pressure exercised by the boss or clients, are the major causes of mental illnesses developed in the workplace. Stressful situations that extend over time lead to burnout, which affects one's working life, personal life, physical health, and social relations. Unmanageable quantity of work obliges workers to complete their tasks at home, who also have to answer phone calls and respond to emails at any time; this exhausting scenario can negatively impact the family life of the employees, who have to prioritize work even at home. Incompatibilities with colleagues and internal conflicts with other team members are factors that can contribute as well to increased levels of stress. The latter can make people forget important things and force them to always choose work over any other activity; having little time for important deadlines to meet means, for example, that a worker is more likely to spend less time preparing a healthy meal or that he will be less likely to spend time exercising. In the long run, this can lead to high blood pressure, weight gain, and an overall unhealthy lifestyle.

The same can happen in school, where many children and adolescents of all ages have a hard time adapting to rigid schedules and coping with continuous tests and exams while having to make and develop friendships. 

During the last two years, the COVID-19 pandemic has impaired the mental health of many students, who have found themselves alone in front of a screen, without having the possibility of seeing their friends and peers. 

In the United States of America, one in six children aged 6 to 17 experience a mental health disorder every year, but only a few receive proper treatments. Indeed, this type of problem is often overlooked and thus undiagnosed, leading to depression, anxiety, and self-harm. It is, therefore, essential for schools to offer counseling services and preventive interventions with speeches delivered by psychologists and general experts in the field. But it is also important for teachers to realize that students are not just numbers and that they deserve time to cultivate their passions and hobbies because school is much more than just homework and pages to study. 

Children with attention deficit disorder, behavior problems, anxiety, and depression, in particular, require special and specific attention both at home and at school. It is, therefore, critical that they receive what they require so that they may overcome or learn to live with their issues in the best possible way, leading a peaceful and happy life like everyone else. The earlier treatment begins, the better the child's chances of a positive outcome.

Overall, when mental illnesses remain untreated or treated inadequately, problems can become quite serious leading to- school dropout, unemployment, substance use, incarceration, and early death. Suicide is indeed one of the main consequences of severe issues at school or work, and it is also the second leading cause of death for youth aged from 10 to 34. 

Nowadays, too many people report having, or having had mental health issues due to problems at work or in school. We, as a society, have to realize that mental health is just as important as a physical one and that they are pretty much dependent on one the other. We should promote a balance among the different domains of life to increase concentration, motivation, and productivity. 

It is also extremely important for people with mental health problems to know that they can get better and even recover from those issues if they turn to a psychologist or a psychotherapist.

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