The stigma of dealing with mental health issues for students is immense. And while many students who face this do manage to make a full recovery eventually, their academic track usually remains irreversibly affected. In 2021 Australia, however, this is not the case anymore. Dealing with depression, anxiety, OCD, PTSD, or many other mental health issues does not mean the end of a student’s opportunities, not even as we’re dealing with a pandemic. Here are the best academic options for Australian students facing mental health issues today:
1. Alternative Schools
When dealing with mental health issues, the social aspect of attending traditional school can be quite overwhelming. The day-to-day life in a regular school features a series of enormous stressors for students dealing with depression, anxiety, or other issues. Just being around so many people can be difficult, but typical school life all too often includes bullying as well, which can exacerbate mental illness. This is why many students choose to leave school rather than reliving their trauma on a daily basis.
There is great hope for these students. They often think that traditional schooling is their only option, but they need to know that they can enroll in the best alternative schools Melbourne has to offer. The Australian education system supports this option that provides a steady inclusive environment for students who need different conditions to thrive academically. These schools have youth workers in every classroom together with the teacher to provide personalized support to each student.
After students leave school, re-enrolling is difficult because it can only happen at specific times in the school year. Alternative schools, however, offer year-round enrollment, which provides an immense advantage because students with gaps in their education can go back to school as soon as they make that decision instead of waiting for a few extra months during which they may reconsider. Moreover, students who enroll in alternative schools will also receive support as they transition back into the education system.
Being around students who have faced similar issues builds a sense of community in alternative schools. Instead of being singled out for being different, which usually happens to students dealing with mental illness in regular schools, they can see other people like them who are thriving, they can have colleagues who understand them and who are empathetic to their needs. This gives them hope and shows them that there is a future for them.
2. Online Schools
In 2020, Australia, like the rest of the world, has had to resort to online learning in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. The overall effects of this period on the students are still to be determined and the challenges were immense – from reducing one-on-one time with the teachers to increased social isolation and all the way to difficulties in accessing the technology required to attend online learning.
However, there is a silver lining. Mandated online schooling has introduced students dealing with mental health issues to a different type of learning environment, one that did not include many of the stressors of day-to-day school life. Not having to be physically present in school also meant that these students did not have to face traffic on a daily basis to get to and from there, and most importantly, they did not have to spend the day with so many other people. The effect of this on students dealing with anxiety or depression was a significant reduction in stress levels.
Students who have felt better learning online should absolutely pursue online schooling as their main form of education. Online learning programs permit students to tailor their education to their schedule because they can attend the courses whenever they like. This is extremely important for students dealing with mental health issues because being invested in their treatment is time-consuming. Going to therapy, daily physical exercise, daily meditation sessions, and other activities typically included in their schedule are far easier to connect with online courses than a traditional school schedule.
Dealing with mental health issues as a student is extremely difficult, but it should not be the end of the academic road. Students have more flexibility in their education today and they have access to different learning environments than the traditional schooling system. There are programs that can support them in their recovery and that provide them with solid opportunities for their future. These programs will help remove the stigma around mental health issues because they empower teens and build communities.
This post has been sponsored by linkselect
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