Editorial: Let’s Make The Mental Health Of Our Students A Priority 

A representative of the Psychiatry Unit of the Obuasi Government Hospital, Victor Nuamah, has revealed that depression cases among Junior High School (JHS) leavers, who cannot meet their academic aspirations, are on the ascendancy. 

He said the unit received not less than 10 cases of depression or anxiety-related disorders each year of JHS leavers, who failed to get their preferred schools or courses. Describing the situation as worrying, he called for support from stakeholders towards “rescuing such troubled children”.

Victor Nuamah said, “This is where the churches and family can come in and support the children to overcome any form of anxiety-related disorders and depression. Children must understand that academic successes largely depend on individual’s efforts and not the school or course area.”

Mr Nuamah was speaking at a programme organised by the Obuasi Area Pentecost Men’s Ministry (PEMEM) and the Municipal Education Directorate to offer guidance and counselling for final year JHS students to make demand-driven career choices so as to become relevant after school.

The Chronicle finds this situation very worrying and alarming. The pressure to meet academic expectations and secure a place in a preferred school can be overwhelming for young students. When these aspirations are not met, the resultant feelings of failure and hopelessness can lead to severe mental health issues, including depression and anxiety.

This is not merely a matter of academic performance but a significant public health concern. The mental well-being of our youth is paramount and we must take proactive steps to support them during these critical periods of their lives. The role of families and religious institutions cannot be overstated. As Mr. Nuamah rightly pointed out, this is where churches and families can step in to provide the much-needed support.

Encouraging children to understand that academic success largely depends on individual effort rather than the school or course attended is crucial. Building resilience and fostering a growth mindset in our youth can help them navigate setbacks and challenges more effectively.

However, the responsibility does not rest solely with families and religious institutions. Schools and educational authorities must also play a pivotal role in addressing this issue. It is imperative that schools establish robust counseling units equipped with professionals trained in mental health.

These units should be accessible and welcoming, ensuring that students feel comfortable in seeking help whenever they experience feelings of depression or anxiety. Schools should also incorporate mental health education into their curricula, teaching students about the importance of mental health and how to manage stress and setbacks.

Furthermore, it is essential to foster an environment where discussing mental health issues are normalised and free from stigma. Students should be encouraged to speak openly about their feelings and seek support without fear of judgment. By creating a supportive and understanding atmosphere, we can help prevent the escalation of mental health issues among our youth.

The government and educational policymakers must also prioritise mental health by allocating resources to train more school counsellors and implement comprehensive mental health programs across all educational institutions. Collaboration with mental health organisations to provide workshops and training for both students and educators can also be beneficial.

In conclusion, the rising cases of depression among JHS leavers who cannot meet their academic aspirations is a wake-up call for all of us. We must collectively take action to address this crisis by providing the necessary support systems for our youth.

By doing so, we can help them navigate their academic journeys with resilience and hope, ensuring that they emerge as mentally healthy and well-rounded individuals ready to contribute positively to society.



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