Ways to Promote Mental Health in Schools
As the mental health issues grow in number, so does the need to address them promptly. Although mental health difficulties have always existed, only in the last few years has a significant contribution been made in this area. We can get ahead of mental problems and obtain care before the risks become too large if we raise awareness and better know them.
Importance of Promoting Mental Health in schools
Studies show that one in five students are actively struggling with their mental health. Suicide has been named the second cause of death among students. According to the World Health Organization, the good news here is that 70% of the mental health disorders that appear in children can be treated through early intervention. As children spend a good part of their day in school, creating a safe and healthy environment minimizes mental health issues.
Significant Issues that affect Mental Health
Several reasons may contribute to mental health issues among students.
Academic pressure can have a significant effect on the mental health of students. The sheer number of assignments and exams are a reason for the rising number of depression and suicide rates. Students feel like failures if they cannot keep up with their workload.
Peer pressure is always present in different forms. In the age of social media, it exists in the form of social media platforms. With everyone showcasing their achievements, people feel super competitive. They may delve into the well of depression if they can’t keep up with their expectations.
There are several ways a school administration can adopt to promote mental health in schools.
With the rise of mental health difficulties, educational institutions must hire a counselor as a member of their staff. To keep up with this, many universities offer Masters of Arts in Counseling online, where you can tailor your course and hone your skills. The basic requirement for a guidance counselor is effective communication as well as avid listening skills.
It is important to make the students feel comfortable and secure while they communicate their issues with you. Build an air of trust and honesty, so they don’t hesitate to come to you with their problems. Most of the time, all the students need is someone who can listen to them. Be sure to ask non-judgemental questions that encourage them to talk about their issues better and maybe find a solution along the way.
Reading the signs
Several ways can indicate declining mental health. Slight changes in behavior can indicate whether a student is experiencing mental distress. It can be a lack of interest in favorite activities or seemingly insignificant changes in physical appearances, such as deteriorating health. Intervention at this point may save the child from developing lasting mental effects.
Talk about Mental Health
As much as we talk about mental health, it is still a daunting topic of conversation in many places. Make sure that it is not taboo in your organization. Address the common issues faced by the students, like bullying. Talk about it in assemblies and events. Devise policies that are in favor of students who are struggling with mental health.
Having a good social circle to run into is essential for your mental wellbeing. In school, you encounter many different people, and you automatically get along with people who have similar interests to you. Shy kids have a hard time making friends and mingling and risk becoming antisocial and distant, ultimately affecting their education and mental health.
To counter this, schools should come up with group activities. A clever way to start is to form different clubs, like art, book, and media clubs. It provides like-minded individuals to get together and socialize.
Health and Physical Education
Students need to have a physical outlet for emotional breakdowns, anxiety, and stress. As teachers, it is essential to promote healthy expression of negative emotions and provide necessary outlets. Sports and physical education is a form of self-expression. The students may find a healthy outlet for their daily frustrations and negativity. Studies show that physically active children are better learners and can better keep up with the growing academic stress.
As with sports, art is another form of outlet for some people. You might encounter some students who express themselves through different forms of art. Some may write about it, while others would pour out their anger on a canvas using a palette of colors.
It is essential to understand that every person has a unique way of expression. For this purpose, the schools should have a system where students can choose creative activities, whether for a grade or leisure.
Not everyone agrees with one another all the time. There are instances where a conflict arises in the simplest of situations. If not handled appropriately, it can turn ugly. Conflicts occur the most when students are in their teen years, passionate and aggressive. It is essential to prepare them for such situations beforehand.
Conflict resolution exercises can be tricky to carry out. You should train the children to look past their conflicts and failures that they may face in the future and look at the bigger picture. They should be taught good decision-making skills that may help them choose their battles in the future.
A famous saying goes as ‘All work and no play makes jack a dull boy. There should be a healthy mix between work and leisure time. Between courses, a school should have at least a 30-minute recess period. Students are free to pursue their rest however they want, provided it does not harm anyone.
Mental health is a serious issue, especially in the time of covid-19. While there may be challenges at school, there is a big chance that your student’s mental health may be harmed in other ways, affecting his school performance. In such cases, it is important to let them know that you are there for them and will help them get through tough situations. Make them feel heard and understood because, in many cases, that’s all they need.
Ways to Promote Mental Health in Schools