“Teacher, I’m not fine.” This direct, sincere phrase resounds more and more frequently in the corridors of Spanish educational centers and, despite the deep regret that it reveals, opens up an opportunity for hope. Getting those words expressed and offering the necessary help is one of the challenges that teachers and management teams face every day while carrying out their academic work.
The emotional discomfort of adolescents has been increasing in recent years and with it the risk of self-harm or thinking about taking their own life. Behind their anguish are usually hidden, among other factors, a feeling of deep soledadsituations of violence such as abuse, mistreatment or bullying, disorders eating behavior and/or depression, low self-esteem I self demand. All of this is frequently aggravated by the inappropriate use of social networkswhich has a strong impact on their mental health.
In 2022, 84 under the age of 20 took their own lives in 2022, nine more than the previous year. Twelve of them were between the ages of 10 and 14 and 72 between the ages of 15 and 19, 19 more than in 2021, according to provisional data provided by the INE on June 27. Broken lives, preventable deaths, which leave an enormous desolation around them.
The school environment is a privileged place to detect the pain of an adolescent and help him. Making this accompaniment in the appropriate way has become one of the priorities in the classrooms, but Do teachers have the necessary resources and support? Currently, there are clear action plans and a greater implication on the part of the administrations to reinforce training and intervention measures, but teachers face very complex situations on a day-to-day basis, even without sufficient tools and support.
“Before the pandemic, we already began to see risk situations of boys and girls who fabulated with suicidal ideas and then we are detecting more cases of depression, sadness, anxiety. It is worrying because the issue of adolescent mental health is not is being addressed with all the resources that should be”, laments Rosa Rocha del Lagodirector of IE Guadarrama (Madrid) for 12 years.