It’s time to teach students about mental illness!

It’s time to teach students about mental illness!

77 have signed. Let’s get to 100!

Why this petition matters

Started by Kiana Goetze

Misinformation, whether misleading or outright false, has a tendency to spread like wildfire. With a subject as sensitive and complex as mental health, things can get confusing very quickly.

Mental health misinformation has evolved thanks to social media. It is not difficult to find phony mental health education accounts spreading deceptive information about the experience of mental illness or attention-seekers that pretend to have a mental illness for likes. This all leads to general misunderstandings about mental illness that contributes to the negative stigma already surrounding the subject. A study by Trompeter et al. has found that many of our current youth are unable to recognize what an actual mental illness looks like from their symptoms (55).

History has been unkind to the mentally ill, painting them as crazy, unstable, or, at worst, dangerous. The negative stigma became suffocating. Researchers Robinson et al. discovered it encouraged the mentally ill to suppress their feelings and avoid finding treatment (51). It is time to flip the script and share the truth with society. Teaching students about mental illnesses in schools is a necessity.

As someone with a diagnosed anxiety disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, I struggled for most of my life before fully understanding what was wrong. Many students have it even worse than me, never being able to fully understand why they are struggling or being given the wrong reason like they are lazy or incapable. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, about 1 in 5 Americans experienced a mental disorder in 2020. We need to give students access to knowledge that can help them and their peers when struggling with something so common. 

Students, you can take control of your education by promoting what you need to learn! You can tell your schools that you want to be informed about mental illness for your health and safety. By signing and promoting this petition, you can help to combat stigma and misinformation in our society by becoming more informed about mental illness. You and your peers can avoid being misled and teach others, too.

It’s not impossible to teach about mental illnesses. It doesn’t have to be taboo! Researchers and professors are already finding ways to create productive and informative discussions.

You can look into these studies below to suggest some strategies to your schools for implementation. These strategies, like creating a brief course on how to recognize mental illness and how it develops, having students meet people with stigmatized disorders, and looking into literature that features accurate representation, have been proven effective to reduce stigma and educate students. I recommend creating a course in addition to health class that can be taught in middle school to combat misinformation at a young age. Mental health is just as important as physical health and should be taught as such.

Stand up for your education! Sign the petition and share it!

#MentalIllnessEducation #StopTheStigma

Additional Resources:

Works Cited:

NAMI. “Mental Health by the Numbers.” NAMI, 2022,

Robinson, Patrick, et al. “Measuring Attitudes towards Mental Health Using Social Media: Investigating Stigma and Trivialisation.” Social Psychiatry & Psychiatric Epidemiology, vol. 54, no. 1, 2019, p. 51–58.

Trompeter, Nora, et al. “Mental Health Literacy and Stigma Among Salvadorian Youth: Anxiety, Depression and Obsessive-Compulsive Related Disorders.” Child Psychiatry & Human Development, vol. 53, no. 1, 2022, p. 48–60.

77 have signed. Let’s get to 100!