Mental Health in today’s society

By Rebecca and Katarina Agius Jager, EEB1

We live in a decaying society, an exponentially less personal society, an ever-more demanding society, the seeds of which have been sown by the adults who came before us and left us the pieces we deal with as the youth of today. The epitome and highpoint of this society is the Covid virus that has not only physically accentuated and deepened the mental issues we deal with as children, but that has become a symbol of what is wrong with the world – the lack of collaboration, communication, the twisted familial spirit, the overburdening of the students.  

To prevent covid from spreading, we have spent the past two years at home. Education, social events, extracurricular activities have all been moved online. Now, in this state of isolation, there’s nothing left but to face our thoughts and ourselves. The result is an increase in visibility of issues within our society. Particularly, mental health issues. And whilst it is really great that we have been giving all of this attention to a matter that really deserves it, it’s important to note that it is not just covid that is the reason for mental health problems in the new generations. But perhaps it can help us see what the real reasons are. 

Over the past two years, we have visited school online. Occasionally we had the opportunities to go to school but it was very different from the years before. Students felt this more than anyone. And although we have to note the efforts that the schools put into moving education online, we also have to be aware of the fact that they have not taken the well being of students into consideration, not in the true sense of the word. We have been presented with the same or greater intense workload as before and forced to start self learning which obliterated the socialization part of education and only left us with the academics . Of course this has benefits, but education is not merely academics, it’s building an understanding of the mind, our life and who we are. These early educational years are the most fundamental for the development of the individual and we have been left to figure out who we are as individuals alone. This is not to say that teachers and school staff did not offer to listen if we need to talk about anything, but never actually made sure that we are doing okay. They never considered the mental toll of unflinching deadlines on schoolwork. Furthermore, this highlights the problems that existed in the educational system before: the glamorization of a perfect student who takes on more work than necessary, who is compliant and timid and so on. This triggered competition, enforced by the public discussions of students’ achievements and forcing them to prioritize grades before anything else. Personally speaking, since our academic achievements have always been spotlighted so much, it didnt matter how we felt, we always had to bury our feelings under our school work which is not healthy. Doing well at school does not mean that a student is healthy, contrary to the assumption many teachers make, leading to the quesion – do teachers really know what to look for in mental health concerns? Academic success and obedience is propagated from a very early age. We can all recall teachers punishing certain students for not ever being able to pay attention. In some cases this might have been behavioral issues but in others it could have been ADHD or a cry for attention. But teachers dont look at these issues from our perpectives, if at all.  

The only other place we can then turn to is the internet which poses another set of problems. The first point is that social media have become venting platforms, where everyone talks about their problems but no one is able to offer the sufficient help needed to resolve them. In fact it often triggers competition between mental illnesses, as they are in their own right competitive issues, and create a toxic culture. This is further problematicized by the fact that a certain glamor has been added to mental issues themselves: tv series like skins or euphoria or singers like melanie martinez, provide a comfort to our issues and take away the need to get better. We want to stay as we are. Above all, we then still have influencers and celebrities living their lives luxuriously and carelesly which adds another pressure, of wanting to be as successful as them in our lives. So its essentially a culmination of issues that keep worsening the state of our mental health, all the while in real life, our cries for help are often disregared or dismissed.  

Even though solidarity of peers is crucial in a situation like this, we can’t help eachother, we can’t fix eachother because we’re only children. The only way forward is for the adults to realize that their children need help.  It needs to be offered and it needs to e communicated that it’s ok to recieve it. Things gone unsaid can do more harm than things said. 

This is the english version of an article published by Časoris children’s newspaper on World Children’s day 2021 in collaboration with UNICEF Slovenia. (link to video on the topic: