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Parents Want Emotional, Mental Health Education in Schools but Majority Say Topics Aren’t Currently Covered

Parents Want Emotional, Mental Health Education in Schools but Majority Say Topics Aren’t Currently Covered

A new survey of parental opinions on health education in schools has found that a majority of parents want their children to be exposed to emotional and mental health education although most say such instruction is not currently available.

According to News Medical, University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children's Hospital National Poll on Children's Health surveyed a nationally representative sample of middle and high school parents to arrive at its findings.

Two-thirds of parents said they want mental health topics like depression and bullying to be included in their child’s education, but only one-third said their child currently has access to such offerings.

The survey also revealed that parents are more open now than ever to their children being taught about sensitive topics like drugs and sex during school hours.

Over two-thirds of respondents said that "traditional health topics should definitely be covered at their child's grade level, including physical activity, drug and alcohol abuse, healthy eating and sex education and pregnancy prevention,” said News Medical.

Parental support behind rigorous sex education is a good sign as a recent study found that teens on a global level believe that sex education needs improvement.

Last week, a study revealed that teens in the U.S. and nine other countries had negative things to say about their experiences with Sex and Relationship Education (SRE).

"[S]chools need to acknowledge that SRE is a special subject with unique challenges, as well as the fact and range of young people’s sexual activity. Unless they do, young people may disengage from SRE and opportunities for safeguarding and improving their sexual health will be missed,” said lead researcher Dr. Pandora Pound in the University of Bristol’s press release.

Support from parents in favor of improved sex and relationship education is indicative of an easier climate to make changes in, although Sarah Clark, M.P.H., co-director of the C.S. Mott Children's Hospital National Poll on Children's Health tells News Medical that expanding health education curriculum in general is a long journey for schools.

"Core academic requirements, parent or student preferences for electives and the financial burden of hiring more teachers can limit opportunities to expand health education courses,” she said, according to the article.

Read more about the national survey here.

Nicole Gorman, Senior Education World Contributor

9/19/2016

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