I am a retired middle school health educator in 100 percent agreement with the June 19 letter by Della Huntley, “Education on mental health should be required in school” (Page A4).

Every teenager is affected by mental illness directly or indirectly. For some it is a personal struggle, or perhaps a family member or friend has been diagnosed. Within any classroom there are students in need of mental health services. So much of the dysfunction in our society is at least in part related to mental health problems: school failure, drug addiction, gun violence, dating and domestic violence, poverty, homelessness, homicide, suicide.

Mental health education would include mental health hygiene, recognizing signs and symptoms, resources and types of treatment, how to ask for help and how to provide support. Classroom discussions can take the mystery out of mental illness and reduce the stigma that prevents many sufferers from getting needed treatment.

I applaud Della for choosing to research this very important topic, and for taking the extra step of sharing her findings through the editorial process.

Maddie Akeley

South Portland

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