These children suffer in silence, and many think they are bad students, bad children, and deserve to be punished. This is far from the truth, and where schools must step in and help more kids to get the mental health assistance that they so desperately need. If it is not done early enough, many children will have their self-esteem destroyed, have no motivation, and may later drop out of school.

Traditional approaches in schools have not been enough. There are not enough school therapists, due to lack of funding, to help all of the children in need. In addition to this, some families may not want a diagnosis or stigma associated with a mental health label. To work around this, many districts are embracing a broader approach to helping all children from the start of school. They are attempting a larger type of early intervention. The focus is to include social-emotional support to all students within the school day. Kids are shown coping strategies to use when stressed, they openly talk about feelings that may mean they are anxious, and they do things like breathing exercises to find their center again. Schools have found that many of these techniques help all kids to have the means to work through tough times and situations.

Schools must take time to set up committees to work on plans that will help all students with and without official mental health diagnoses. All faculty and staff must work on creating a culture of caring. Take time in the morning to check in with students as they arrive. Making this connection will help them to feel comfortable to ask for help if they need it. Have safe places where kids are allowed to go to decompress and regroup. Sometimes they may simply need a quiet walk to get water, or a spot with less light to calm themselves. All of these, along with open communication with families at home will be assets in ending the stigma of mental illness and providing help for all kids in need.