There have been several studies that have analyzed mental health issues amongst all personnel in the field of education, from students to teachers to the heads of educational institutions. This article examines 6 of these past studies and then describes the study conducted by the author to see what type of mental health issues prevail in educational institutions.
The purpose of the review of literature and study that was conducted was to see what the most prevalent mental health issue is amongst people in the field of education and how it affects work/study performance
The findings of five academic articles were examined for this study, as well as the study conducted by the author that consisted of a survey composed of six questions that received 62 responses.
The six academic articles that were examined for this study show that the most prevalent mental health issue amongst students and educators is depression, especially in pre-clinical medical students and heads of educational institutions. The study conducted by the author had the same finding, with 41/62 ( 66.1%) individuals in the study claiming depression/ anxiety or major depressive disorder as their mental health issue. Additionally, the study conducted found that 31/62 (50%) of participants claim that their mental health issues have both helped and hurt their study/work performance, and that 21/62 (33.8%)think their issues benefit their performance.
Findings suggest that mental health issues prevail amongst medical students compared to students studying any other field, that teachers had a significant raise in mental health problems during the COVID-19 pandemic, that the most prevalent mental health issue amongst students, educators, and educational business leaders is depression, and that most individuals in the study conducted by the author feel their mental health issue in someway helps their work or study performance .
Over the past century, the rise in mental illness amongst the population has skyrocketed (Stolzer, 2016). There have been several studies to determine what has caused such a dramatic rise, with the conclusion being that it is due to the rise in the amount of pressure in school and work that individuals face today compared to the past. As someone who has worked closely in the field of education for the past 15 years, the author decided to analyze past studies that have been conducted on the mental health of students and teachers, and conduct her own study on what types of mental illnesses are prevailing amongst educators, teachers, and educational business leaders.
The study conducted had the purpose of identifying what type of mental health issues are most prevalent amongst those in the field of education (students, teachers, and educational business owners) and whether or not these issues helped or hurt their study/work performance.
Knowledge of the Issue
In order to obtain knowledge of the issue, the author first analyzed past studies that have been conducted on similar research questions, which she did by analyzing 6 studies. The first study conducted by Cuttilan et,al (2016) studied the mental health issues amongst students and after a case analysis of 1,033 students, it was found that depression is high amongst students studying medicine, with an astounding high percentage of those in pre-clinical studies diagnosed with depression. Castaldelli et.al (2019) found that amongst medical students, drug and alcohol abuse were a lot more common compared to students studying other fields, females in the field experienced heavy psychological stress, and that males had a high incidence of mental illness. Seth (2016) studied a sample of 60 secondary school teachers and found a significant percentage with mental health issues. Tai et.al (2019) found that amongst educators in Malaysia, up to 25% suffered from stress. Palma-Vasquez et.al (2021) found that in 58% of the teachers in Chile, especially during the switch to telework due to COVID-19, mental health was poor. Finally, Harvard Business School (2022) described that leaders in all sectors report mental health issues: 80% of executives reported struggles in 2020 and 38% of those turned to drugs or alcohol to cope.
The author designed a survey to establish what mental health issues were common amongst educational stakeholders, which was answered by 62 colleagues, friends, and past students who have worked or studied in different educational institutions in North America, and that the author knew had mental health struggles. The survey was created on Google Docs so that answers could remain anonymous, since there is still a stigma around mental health and most responses wished to be kept anonymous. The survey was composed of six questions: 1. What is your diagnosed mental illness ? 2. What is your highest level of education? 3. What is your occupation? 4. What was your G.P.A in your last completed course of study? 5. Do you feel your mental health issue has affected you in a positive or negative way? 6. Please elaborate on your answer to question 5.
In the survey conducted, 41/62 ( 66.1%) individuals (students, teachers, tutors, and leaders in educational institutions) in the study claimed depression/ anxiety or major depressive disorder as their diagnosed mental health issue., followed by 10/62 (16.1%) with diagnosed Bipolar II Disorder, 10/62 (16.1%) with Diagnosed Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome, and 1/62 (1.6%) with addiction problems. 41/62 participants (66.1%) have a college degree, and 51/62 (82.2%) obtained over a 3.0 GPA in their last course of study. Additionally, the study conducted found that 31/62 (50%) of participants claim that their mental health issues have both helped and hurt their study/work performance, and that 21/62 (33.8%) think their issues benefit their performance. Below are some of the responses obtained when asking to elaborate on how the individual felt their mental illness helped or hurt them:
“Before I received treatment, my mental illnesses were harmful to my performance because they made it almost impossible for me to believe in myself or to feel worthy. I always felt broken or like a victim. After years of receiving various treatments for my mental illnesses and healing from traumas, I know that having those challenges not only brought me to what I do in my life now, which I love, but also gave me a perspective that would inspire my creative work and allow me to connect more deeply with myself, my clients and students, and humans in general. I also consider the self-awareness and compassion I have learned from having mental illness to be a gift that helps me to release what does not serve me and focus my energy on bringing in what does.”
“Somedays its hard to focus. Other days im stronger because of everything I’ve been through. Its a balancing act. Learning to understand hard days happen but aren’t the end of everyday.”
“ I always get up stronger after a depressive episode”
An analysis of the findings from this study conclude that depression is the most common mental health issue amongst educational stakeholders, and that a majority of those who responded feel that their mental illness helps them in some way. The conclusion after analysing past studies on the issue is that mental health problems are most common amongst medical students and business leaders, including owners of educational institutions.