Middle School Mental Health Curriculum in the State of Texas: Addressing a Gap Within Our Education System

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2020-05

Authors

Toy, Miranda

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Abstract

Mental health issues are prevalent in our society. Although efforts have been made to increase mental health awareness, stigmatization still exists and contributes to people's misconceptions about those with mental health issues. Some people may not even be introduced to the concept of mental health until they are adults. It is important that, as we promote physical health to children, that we also promote mental health awareness, sp people can understand how to take care of themselves not only physically, but mentally as well. Currently in the state of Texas, despite its strong relevance to a person's well-being, there is no mental health education like what we see with physical education. Addressing this gap in our education is a key step toward improving mental health outcomes among our population. I will propose a mental health curriculum for seventh and eighth grade students in Texas that focuses on mental health disorders, positive psychology constructs (growth mindset, grit, mindfulness), stigma, communication, and resources. This curriculum will require students to take classes that work towards increasing awareness and general knowledge on positive and negative aspects of mental health. I will start with research on current mental health education programs across the nation, then focus specifically on similar efforts in Texas. It is hoped that increased education about mental health will decrease the stigma surrounding mental health issues. Also, this awareness could promote early intervention as students recognize mental health problems in themselves or in peers. The goal of this thesis is to identify key elements required for the implementation of mental health education in middle school curricula.

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