Productivity in our Schools: Mental Health Analysis

 Though each of the factors do have some recognized effect on a student's ability to be productive, the results from my survey and interviews overwhelmingly indicated that mental health is seen to be one of the largest factors inhibiting productivity in our school.  

Mental health is also one of the most nuanced and connected factors that I am analyzing in this project.  This is because the correlation between mental health and the other factors can make differentiation difficult.  For example, if a student has a difficult and unsupportive home life, then it is unlikely that their mental health will be in a good state.  Inversely, if they have an educational disability, such as ADHD, it is more likely that they will be affected by situational factors.  Especially if they are not diagnosed and haven't developed effective coping skills.  Additionally, students with mental health disorders that reduce motivation, such as depression, will have much more trouble being motivated in any aspect.  Mental health is clearly a factor that can largely inhibit one's ability to be productive, so any investments in mental health resources are incredibly valuable.  

Though arguing for the investment in mental health resources can be difficult at times.  Socially, mental health issues are still stigmatized in some ways, making it less likely for people to seek out help when it is needed and less likely for people to monetarily invest in those resources.  At Oxford Preparatory School, a 87% majority of students indicated that they have seen their peers struggle with mental health and their school work as a result.  With some of the other factors it is more difficult to offer direct solutions.  We can't change a student's background, but we can offer more mental health resources in their school environment. 

Ensuring that these resources are offered has always been important, but more recently the pertinence of this topic has grown exponentially.  The JAMA Network completed a study that analyzes the effects of the pandemic on the mental health issues of current high schoolers.  They found that the pre-existing deterioration of mental health was largely exacerbated during the COVID-19 Pandemic.  The reasons for the increased deterioration vary on a case by case basis, but were most consistently due to the following factors: home life, friendship, and school.  For example, if a student had a difficult home life during the pandemic, their mental health was more likely to decline due to having to stay at home.  If a student was already socially isolated and did not have many friends, their mental health declined due to the intensification of the isolation.  Lastly, if a student had a very supportive and positive school environment, that they lost, then their mental health declined both during the pandemic and after.  This is because returning to school and regaining that connectivity was more difficult for students following the pandemic.  

Overall, mental health is one of the most important factors when considering student productivity and should be supported in every way possible.  

Montero-Marin JHinze VMansfield K, et al. Young People’s Mental Health Changes, Risk, and Resilience During the COVID-19 Pandemic. JAMA Netw Open. 2023;6(9):e2335016. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2023.35016


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