Teens and Poor Mental Health: How Virtual High School Can Help

Psychological distress is a growing concern among the teenage population. A study in Ontario found that 39% of high school students lived with moderate to serious anxiety or depression, with 17% reporting a serious threat.

Mental health is an innately personal thing. How one person experiences a mental health challenge, whether it’s depression, anxiety, an eating disorder, or low self-esteem, will affect other people differently.

This is just one of the many reasons why it’s difficult to give an over-arching generalization of, let alone a solution to, mental health issues. However, it’s relatively safe to say that once the root of the cause has been established, some adjustments can help ease the symptoms and help steer teens experiencing such challenges down a healthier path.

One common cause for mental health issues is the educational environment of brick-and-mortar schooling, and it’s why attending an online school in Ontario may prove valuable. Read on to find out why virtual high school can help some teens who are struggling with their mental health.

Why Teens May Struggle in Traditional Schools

It’s hard to cover every reason that teens experience mental health challenges in high school. But just a few factors that may lead to a decline in mental health include bullying, concern about poor academic performance, and social anxiety.

Teens Who Experience Bullying Are Removed from the Environment

Approximately 20% of teens aged 12 to 18 experience bullying. If discussions with teachers and guidance counselors at the school have fallen flat, taking the teen out of a hostile environment can be an appealing option.

Continuing their education — for one class or the whole semester — from the comfort of home will put the learner at ease, allowing them to focus their energies on their studies.

eLearning Offers a Breathing Room

eLearning through a virtual high school is asynchronous, meaning that students can learn at a pace that suits them, taking time for themselves on days when their mental health is suffering. This happens within reason, of course; there’s still accountability, as teachers will check in intermittently if coursework isn’t proceeding at a reasonable pace.

This flexibility allows learners to take time for themselves to regroup, but with the answerability of the real world keeping things on track.

Topics Can Be Revisited

On days when mental health is low, it can be difficult to focus; it can feel like wading through a mental fugue. Absorbing and retaining information during these times can be incredibly difficult.

People living with depression, for example, may experience bouts of forgetfulness, during which it’s hard to focus on tasks and to think clearly.

As coursework is left open for learners throughout the duration of their studies, they can revisit topics as many times as they need until they feel like they fully grasp the concepts; similarly, they can breeze through sections they really have a handle on.

The Takeaway

If a teen is battling mental health issues because of factors associated with a traditional school, know that taking one course (if one particular subject is a major issue), a semester, or the remainder of their high school education online may be a valuable switch.

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