The Impact of Mental Health on Academic Performance

The Impact of Mental Health on Academic Performance
by Nathanial Bridges Sep, 7 2023

Introduction to Mental Health and Education

Hey, beautiful people! It's Nathanial here. That's right, Nathanial, and not that neighbour who keeps snoring late at night. I hope you’re ready for a deep dive into a pressing issue (just like Spot, my Dalmatian, is always ready for a dive for that elusive tennis ball). Today we are going to discuss a topic that holds a great deal of importance in our lives, and is often overlooked - the impact of mental health on academic performance.

Usually, when we discuss educational performance, we tend to focus on physical factors like classroom environment and nutritious food, with lesser emphasis placed on one's mental state. However, the reality is far from it! Mental health can significantly impact one's academic life. Let's dig deeper, just like my adorable tortoise, Shell, loves to dig around in the garden.

The Invisible Interplay of Mind and Academia

When you think of hardcore studying or academic rigour, I bet mental health isn't the first thing that comes to mind. You may think about long hours in the library, an intensive study schedule, maybe even the scent of books? But mental health? Not so much. Yet, there's a strong invisible thread, much like Shell's sneaky garden path, that connects mental health and academic performance.

Studies indicate that students with mental health issues may have difficulty concentrating, be disruptive in class, or struggle with attendance – all factors that can negatively impact academic performance. However, acknowledging mental health's influence is like Spot’s hidden fetch talents, only noticeable when you're really paying attention.

Pioneering Research and Studies on the Connection

"But Nathanial," I hear you voice sceptically, "where's the proof?" Let me tell you, the proof is as reliable as Spot when there are leftovers on the table. Several research papers have identified a sharp correlation between mental health and academic achievement. Kinda like how Georgia - my sweetheart - always manages to correlate my eating habits with why I'm not losing weight.

For instance, a 2012 US survey found that about half of students diagnosed with depression aged between 14 and 18 reported lower-than-average grades. Another study in 2008 found that Australian high school students with mental health issues were less likely to complete school or a post-secondary education. These researches serve as a wake-up call, disturbing as the morning alarm - much hated by both Spot and Shell.

Recognising and Addressing Mental Health Issues

It's crucial to address mental health issues impacting educational engagement, just like addressing why your wife, in my case, our beloved Georgia, insists that pineapple does belong on pizza. It's a tough and might be an uncomfy journey, but one that's necessary for overall wellbeing.

Recognising mental health issues can be a tricky task. Like trying to locate Shell in our spacious backyard, it requires patience and careful observation. It often presents with subtle signs - lack of interest, aversion to socialise, frequent absences- signs that are easy to dismiss as mere 'teenage attitude' or 'academic stress.'

Mental Health Resources and Support in Schools

Just like I lean on my lovely Georgia for support when Spot digs up my favourite shoes or Shell decides to run a marathon all over the house, students with mental health issues need structured support. Schools play a significant role in providing this assistance, as much as Georgia is my anchor when I foil my attempts at being MasterChef.

Listening to students and providing them with adequate resources is imperative for schools. School psychologists, counsellors and student support groups can serve as a sanctuary - much like how my corner roman-style couch serves as my escape when Spot decides to go berserk with his playful mood.

Mental Health - A Collective Responsibility

Mental health is not only a personal but a collective responsibility. It's like taking care of Spot and Shell. It's not just my responsibility, but Georgia and I share it together (though, Spot listens only to her, and Shell, well, walks past me as if I’m not there).

We all have a duty to promote and advocate for better mental health: as parents, teachers, friends, or anyone who interacts with students. Even small gestures can make a significant difference, just like Georgia's warm hugs instantly lighten up any gloomy day.

Final Musings and Thoughts

We're not born with instruction manuals describing our mental well-being, just like no manual could have prepared me for Spot’s unstoppable wagging tail or Shell’s indifferent gaze. It's a path we learn to traverse individually and collectively. Integration of mental well-being in academic discourse is not optional but a necessity.

Remember, it's okay not to be okay. Just like it's okay for Spot to be scared of the vacuum cleaner or for Shell to be slower than the world around him. The vital thing is to recognise our feelings, reach out for help when needed, and support each other, in academia and outside it.