Health class struggles to sufficiently educate on mental health

Lizzie Kotlove

More stories from Lizzie Kotlove


Health teacher Lorraine Goldstein attempts to get students involved with games like the ‘hot seat,’ in which every Friday, one person is asked questions by the rest of the class. “It’s paramount with what we have going on in our world to focus on mental health, specifically since so many are trying to cope with a new normal since the pandemic,” Goldstein said.

Montgomery County’s health curriculum covers a multitude of important topics throughout its one required semester. Health’s curriculum is divided into units, one being centered on mental health, which provides the necessary room to raise awareness and educate students on the complexity of mental and emotional health.

Since a semester of health is required throughout the county, many students feel the class acts as a burden, taking away from a more interesting class they could be taking. Going into health class with the right mindset is essential due to the fact that it teaches some of the most useful and valuable concepts that are extremely applicable to everyday life.

Senior Danielle Corwin took health class for the second half of her sophomore year, and at first, was skeptical.

“I feel like health class felt like a drag at first, but once I decided to make the best of it, I realized that there was a lot to learn about mental health that I was unaware of before,” Corwin said.

Although health class is offered every semester, many students choose to take the class online to avoid having to take another one-semester class, therefore freeing up space in their schedules.

Junior Emmy Tzeng took health over the summer and feels that they did not adequately educate students on mental health.

“The curriculum was more focused on biological things relating to the human body rather than mental and emotional health. I clearly remember learning about the human body and reproduction, but I don’t recall being educated on mental and emotional health very much,” Tzeng said.

Even with the curriculum only being one semester, many believe that health is a very important class that should be a whole year. Instead of having more mental health topics covered in the health curriculum, the course has begun to teach mental health-related lessons during homeroom, which health teacher Lorraine Goldstein doesn’t believe is the best way to spread awareness.

Goldstein believes that only teachers with the appropriate training and resources to teach on mental health should cover the subject.

“[Other teachers] are being put in the position to teach about mental health when it should be in the hands of health teachers. MCPS could benefit from elective mental health classes such as mental health and stress management. An elective for older students would encourage students to continue learning about social and emotional health,” Goldstein said.