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Mental Health

The Link Between “Woke” Education & Mental Health in Today’s Youth

— April 18, 2024

As the mental health crisis continues, the number of children and adolescents impacted is a growing concern.

Recent findings indicate a troubling decline in happiness levels across the United States, with a significant impact on the nation’s younger “woke” population. Studies show an alarming increase in mental health issues among children, teens, and young adults, with suicide ranking as a leading cause of death in these age groups.

Anxiety and feelings of hopelessness are prevalent, affecting over half of the young adults under 30. These statistics reflect a deeper crisis, one that may be exacerbated by current educational trends. Educational institutions, from elementary schools to universities, have increasingly implemented Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives, shifting away from traditional curricula.

This shift towards what some describe as “woke education” is being scrutinized for its potential role in fueling the mental health crisis among the youth. The argument suggests that this focus may contribute to increased anxiety, depression, and a general sense of unhappiness among students.

The Link Between “Woke” Education & Mental Health in Today's Youth
Photo by Elīna Arāja from Pexels

One of the critical concerns is the narrative presented in schools regarding America’s history and societal structure. Initiatives like the “1619 Project” have been incorporated into over 4,500 schools nationwide, portraying the country in a light that some believe fosters division and guilt based on racial and ethnic identities. This approach is thought to lead to feelings of shame, resentment, and discord among students, potentially worsening mental health outcomes.

Moreover, the education system’s handling of topics such as climate change has been criticized for contributing to a sense of fear and hopelessness among students. The framing of climate change education, often centered around the concept of “climate justice,” is said to impose a heavy burden on young individuals, with a significant number expressing concern and fear about the future impacts of climate change.

The discussion also touches on the broader societal values of marriage, family, and faith, suggesting that these foundational elements of happiness and fulfillment are being undermined by current educational narratives. The decline in the perceived importance of having children among those under 30 is cited as evidence of this shift, pointing to potential long-term impacts on mental well-being and societal health.

Critics argue that the education system’s move towards lowering standards in the name of equity further diminishes students’ self-worth and sense of purpose. Examples such as the New York State Board of Regents redefining proficiency standards highlight concerns that students are being encouraged to meet lower expectations, potentially affecting their mental health and future prospects.

The conversation around educational approaches and their impact on mental health is complex, with many calling for a return to curricula that prioritize critical thinking, knowledge acquisition, and an appreciation for the nation’s history and values. Proponents of this view argue that such an approach could foster resilience, confidence, and a sense of direction among students, countering the trends of anxiety, depression, and hopelessness.

As America deals with a growing mental health crisis among its youth, the role of education in shaping students’ outlooks and well-being is under increased scrutiny. The debate highlights the need for a balanced approach to education—one that prepares students for the future while supporting their mental health and fostering a sense of unity and purpose.


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