The Instigator
emily.baker012
Pro (for)
Tied
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The Contender
pattywyatt31
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points

Mental Health is an issue within our education system

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/7/2016 Category: Education
Updated: 5 months ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 456 times Debate No: 95250
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (9)
Votes (0)

 

emily.baker012

Pro

In my opinion, the American education system is negatively impacting the mental health of students within the past decade. I make this claim based on 3 primary premises, the amount of homework given, the lack of support/education pertaining to mental illnesses and, the pressures of standardized tests. These main components of the American education system is causing too much stress on the students and without the proper resources and tools to help the students cope, it is causing a rise in mental health issues.
pattywyatt31

Con

When you refer to the "American education system", are you talking about the K-12 public education system or other? Also can you clarify on what you mean by mental illnesses and mental health? Assuming, when you state "the amount of homework given", you mean that the amount is to large for students to handle. Even if this were the case, I'd like to argue that over the past ten years schools have in fact added multiple homework clubs, and other opportunities for students to attend and be assisted with their school work. What would you like to see schools implement to assist with the mental health of students?
Debate Round No. 1
emily.baker012

Pro

By American education system, I am talking about K-12 grade and college. The education has a bit of a snowball effect. In elementary school, students must take standardized test so that the government can evaluate the schools and provide funding based off of that. Teachers then teach students how to take tests and teach to prepare for the test, and less to teach for the sake of learning. Same goes for high school; however, now students are placed under even more stress to succeed on these tests in order to prepare and get into college. By the time, students arrive at college, they have already arrived with mental health issues that arose throughout their elementary through high school years. An article in Newsweek by Katie Baker, explores how colleges are failing to support students who do struggle with mental illnesses. This article points out the fact that colleges have great disability services and accommodations for learning and physical disabilities but mental health disabilities are a whole different story.
(http://www.newsweek.com...)

Mental illnesses is such a wide spectrum, however, for brevity, I'd like to narrow it down to depression and anxiety. These two are the most common mental illnesses that seem to develop due to the amount of stress placed on students. Mental health to me is simply the well being of both the psychological and emotions of a person.

When you say that there are homework clubs and other opportunities for homework help, how does that address and provide a solution for the amount of homework given? Groups such as the National Education Association and the National Parent Teacher Association suggest ten minutes of homework per day for each grade level is generally a good rule of thumb for elementary and middle school students. However, many students report to having 80 minutes of homework in elementary school and upward to 100 minutes of homework in middle school, exceeding the recommended amount.
(http://www.k12.com...)

I believe the lack of resources and proper education about mental health is further perpetrating the problem that there is a rise in mental health issues. To be more exact , according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, suicide is the second leading cause of death of 15-24 year olds and the third leading cause of death of people aged 10-24 in the United States. There are gym and health classes that help keep kids bodies in shape and healthy, but not classes to teach kids how to manage stress and encourage healthy and safe coping mechanisms. Without these skills and techniques kids are left feeling hopeless, helpless and stressed out. These are some of main symptoms of depression and anxiety.

Would you please share your source from where you talk about adding multiple homework club and what considered other opportunities?

What are your definitions of the American education system, mental health and mental illnesses? That way we can be on the same page?
pattywyatt31

Con

To begin, I will start by clarifying my definitions of American education system, mental health, and mental illnesses. American education system means to me K-12 public school only (not college or private schools), I agree with the definition that mental health is the well being of both the psychological and emotions of a person. I am glad you were able to specify mental illnesses because there are personality and trauma disorders and as you mentioned depression and anxiety. So for the sake of this argument when referring to mental illnesses it would be strictly for depression and anxiety.
Also I apologize for not including my source, http://www.educationworld.com....

The point you make about schools having great (by great do you mean sufficient to deal with issue?) disability services and accommodations is very true. However this may be because of the complexity of mental illnesses and how difficult they are to diagnose and how little people still know about them. One states that the lack of resources and proper education is perpetrating the problem, by this do you mean that the resources and education are obtainable or not? Kirsten Weir would state that there is a lack of resources because they are not yet obtainable. (obtainable meaning accessible)http://www.apa.org...

One must ask you to clarify if you argue that the American education system creates these mental illnesses? Is the depression and anxiety solely from the tests and homework?

I am enjoying debating this with you and look forward to your response.
Debate Round No. 2
emily.baker012

Pro

Thanks for the clarification. What term should I use to define education from kindergarten all the way through college? Once again I'd like to reiterate that there is a snowball effect. Mental health issues within our schools at elementary level is not as prominent but it begins the perpetration of the high levels of stress placed on students . Then throughout the years more towards high school and college it is more evident.

Yes, the strength of the disability services versus mental health services was going to be my next argument. I totally agree with you on the statement that the complexity of mental illnesses and the difficulty to diagnose. This is in part why I believe our education system is failing to help students be aware and give them the resources to help them better cope with the stresses of school that may be causing anxiety and/or depression.

No, I am not arguing that the American education system creates these mental illnesses. In that sense, I would be on the opposing side. I am stating that the American education system (for clarification purposes, I mean the United States) negatively impacts the mental health of students. I phrased it in this particular way because I know that there are many other contributing factors to one's mental health not just education. With this in mind, I would not say that depression and anxiety come from just tests and homework. Another huge factor is a students home life. However, discussing that impact would be driving the argument off topic. I would also like to clarify once again that I do not believe that tests and homework are the exact cause of depression and anxiety. Instead I argue that they are causing a huge amount of stress on students. Which in turn, when students don't have the right resources or coping mechanisms (why I stated that the lack of resources and help with mental health is part of the issue), they tend to develop symptoms and traits of depression and anxiety. If you would like I can include my research and elaborate on the link between stress and depression and anxiety.
pattywyatt31

Con

For the rest of this argument when referring to American education that will include kindergarten through college.
Looking back at the original claim, one states that "American education system is negatively impacting the mental health" and then one states, "3 primary premises, the amount of homework given, the lack of support/education pertaining to mental illnesses and, the pressures of standardized tests." Throughout the arguments, it is repeated that the homework and tests, that schools provide, create stress for students and is one saying that this stress is a factor, among others, that develops the anxiety and depression? If so, then one could see the argument that schools are negatively impacting the mental health of students because the schools are the cause of the anxiety and depression. However, one just recently stated, "No, I am not arguing that the American education system creates these mental illnesses." I believe I am lost on how schools are negatively impacting students mental health. Would one say that schools play no part in creating these mental illnesses and what does "creating" mean to you? One mentions that tests and homework are not the exact cause, so would that be saying that homework and tests might not be the only cause, however they are part of the reason students suffer from mental illnesses?
I would greatly appreciate your research and an elaborate on the link.
I agree that not all students have the right resources or coping mechanisms, however the majority of schools provide counselors and should all of the responsibility of teaching children coping mechanisms fall onto the schools? Or should parents assist with educating children about mental illnesses?
Schools do not negatively impact a students mental health. If schools are not the exact cause of depression and anxiety, and it's mostly the home life. Then it is not the American education system at fault, but the home life of students. Therefore, would the American education system be responsible for providing coping methods and if it isn't only the tests and homework that is causing these issues, then the school is not pushing these students to have these mental illnesses.
Debate Round No. 3
emily.baker012

Pro

First off I'd like to say, thank you for debating with me. I have enjoyed our discussion.

Here is part of a paper I wrote on the mental health of students. This paragraph pertains to how stress impacts mental health:

The byproducts of these hormones are said to have the ability to act as sedatives. When large amounts of stress hormones are released it can contribute to low energy or depression. It"s normal to experience highs and lows from day to day, but an extensive release of byproducts from stress can cause people to be down in the dumps for long periods of time and develop what is known as Major Depression. According to Mills, Reiss and Dombeck, "Symptoms of Major Depression may include: sleep problems; fatigue; appetite changes; feelings of worthlessness, self-hate, and guilt; an inability to concentrate or make decisions; agitation, restlessness, and irritability; withdrawal from typical pleasurable activities; and feelings of hopelessness and helplessness." In a research study focusing on the coping mechanisms among students conducted by Deasy et al. states, "coping is defined as cognitive and emotional attempts to deal with the internal or external demands of the encountered situation. It is perceived as a process as opposed to a trait or outcome ". The results of this study showed three prevalent methods that students used to cope with psychological distress: escape/avoidance, support and taking control. The most frequent of these methods was the escaping and avoidance method. This included substance abuse, oversleeping, eating disorders and other detrimental habits.

(http://journals.plos.org...
http://mhn.centersite.org...)

To me creating means that it is the sole perpetrator of anxiety and depression. I am stating that it is a contributor due to the stress that homework and tests can place on students.
I am also stating that school is not the only reason why people have anxiety and depression. However, my claim is that the American education system increases stress, therefore, increasing the likelihood for depression and anxiety. Here is another article stating the influence on how tests can take a toll on students. http://brainconnection.brainhq.com...

I will have to agree with you on the idea that teaching kids about coping mechanisms and how to deal with mental illnesses should not fall completely on the school. However, most parents don't have the right knowledge and resources to help their kids either. Part of the teaching that I believe schools should offer is helping the students recognize patterns of depression and anxiety so they can get the help they need whether it be from the school or from an outside source. I also think another part of the issue is the stigma place on mental illnesses. This article : http://www.newsweek.com... talks about how college specifically have a negative view on mental health. It talks about how some students who went to seek help ended up getting kicked out of college. This then caused students to be afraid of what might happen and therefore not going and seeking help when needed.

You talk about how it is mostly home life that is causing mental illnesses. From that point of view I could see how you could come to the conclusion that its not the school's responsibility to provide the resources to help deal with these mental illnesses. So I must ask then, would you say that the school then have no effect on a students mental health? I would say by nature, because students spend an average of 7 hours a day at school during the school year, it must have some effect on the student.
I also feel as if you are taking an all or nothing approach. Are you stating that the only way that our American education system can negatively impact students is if it is the only contributor? Say everyone is working on a group project, and five people work on it and get an A. From what I am getting from your statement " if it isn't only the tests and homework that is causing these issues, then the school is not pushing these students to have these mental illnesses." I would assume with the same logic, you'd be saying only one of the students ("home life') got the A on the project and the other student ("the American education system") did not contribute at all to get the A even though every student worked on it collectively.

The impact that the American education system has on students is one a piece of what influences a students mental health. There are many others such as home life as you mentioned and social life. It is that the American education system has a negative impact because of the high levels of stress it places on the students with tests and excessive homework amounts (not the only contributors to stress just 2 of the examples I used). If we were to argue that the American education system is the only factor that impacts students health then I could agree with you that it is not the system at totally at fault. I believe it does play a part of it though.
pattywyatt31

Con

Likewise, I have enjoyed our discussion as well. I believe there have been some very good points called to my attention.
I appreciate the clarification of the word "creating", without the proper defining of words it is easy for debates to become confusing and misunderstood.
To answer your questions, I am willing to consider that schools have an impact on the mental health if a very clean study was done that eliminated as many variables as possible and recorded the amount of stress hormones released.
If there was another round then I'd ask for a further explanation on what one means about the group project example. When you refer to home life in this example, does one mean that the home life was negatively impacting the student. If so then one couldn't necessarily say the student, that worked on it, would receive an "A".
I believe that our argument now lies upon what we were originally arguing. I apologize for not starting off the argument by stating what exactly I meant, whether the American education system was the only thing negatively impacting students or if it simply played a part. For future arguments, I will keep this in mind, to first define the argument.
Thank you for taking the time to debate this with me. I have learned a great deal from this debate and will use it to better my skills.
Debate Round No. 4
9 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 9 records.
Posted by emily.baker012 5 months ago
emily.baker012
Yes, ill reopen the debate so that you can join. I look foreward to hearing your thoughts and argument from a teacher's perspective.
Posted by senshred19 5 months ago
senshred19
So you mean 10 for first graders and increase that time as they get older? That is more reasonable. As a teacher, I know very few colleagues who give "busy work" as homework. It is usually either to finish an assignment or for remediation (to instill what was taught in the lesson that day). Given your arguments, I wish I had accepted this debate. If you wish, you can challenge me to a debate on this topic. I do not want to take away from this original debate by having a mini debate in the comment section
Posted by emily.baker012 5 months ago
emily.baker012
10 minutes for first graders is reasonable and by the time 5th grade hits they're doing an hour a night, when adhering to that rule. And I agree that there should be quality over quantity. If i where a teacher, id give them less homework but make the material more in depth so they are learning outside the classroom, not just busy work

I also agree that home life can have a huge impact on kids mental health. I am not ignoring that fact, but rather focusing on the fact that our education system is a contributor to the decline of mental health.
Posted by senshred19 5 months ago
senshred19
10 minutes of homework each not is just not logical. I only give homework one night every week or two, but when I do, there needs to be a little bit of time and effort put into it. I can only speak about the area that I live in, but there are definitely not very many students here that are stressing over standardized tests. Just the opposite, actually. From my experience, the suicide rate has much more to do with home lives than pressures from the classroom (excluding bullying).
Posted by vi_spex 5 months ago
vi_spex
besides if you are a child
Posted by vi_spex 5 months ago
vi_spex
the need to rely on sources is having mental health issues
Posted by emily.baker012 5 months ago
emily.baker012
Id say the whole education system including college. I feel it has a bit of a snowball affect.
Posted by senshred19 5 months ago
senshred19
Can you be specific as to what age group you are referring to? There is a big difference in how it is pushed at the elementary level and how it is pushed at the high school level.
Posted by That1User 5 months ago
That1User
I completely agree with you, but you should link legitimate sources to your claims in the next round.
No votes have been placed for this debate.