Helping children thrive: mental health in schools

Today’s generation of students is facing unprecedented pressure on their mental and emotional health. Several factors drive this pressure: The excessive time spent on smartphones prevents young brains from engaging with real-world experiences and relationships. The pressure to get into the dream university or get the dream job has created an unhealthy pressure cooker system.

These and other factors have created a scenario where schools must take urgent action to prevent a mental health epidemic among young people. Everything you need to know from expert Praneet Mungali, Trustee Sanskriti Group of Schools.

WHAT CAN SCHOOLS DO TO HELP STUDENTS?

  1. Enhance the sense of connection between students, staff and families

Strong bonds with their peers, family and community are the best antidote to mental health problems. Approaches to building connections within schools should focus particularly on students who are at greater risk of being marginalized and feeling disconnected at school.

  1. Establish anti-bullying and harassment committees

Childhood trauma caused by bullying and harassment is one of the leading causes of poor mental health outcomes in adulthood. Bullying and harassment can take place inside/outside school or even online. Schools should have anti-bullying and harassment committees that can provide students with the right support and advice and protect them from the plague.

  1. Destigmatize and educate

Schools can teach about mental health in core classes or incorporate mental health education as an extracurricular activity. Programs can encourage teachers, counselors, and other trusted adults to record personal stories about their mental health needs. The goal is to remove any stigma associated with mental health issues. Discussions by experienced subject matter experts on identifying emotional distress and the causes and symptoms of mental illness and emotional health. Students should learn that mental illness is treatable and also explain why people don’t ask for help.

  1. A structured program for social-emotional learning

Social-emotional learning is a methodology that places importance on understanding and managing emotions, building healthy relationships and developing social awareness. It is based on the principle that suggests that by educating your students’ hearts, you can help them develop emotional intelligence, resilience and well-being, all of which are essential for success in most areas of life. If implemented properly, this program will encourage students to talk to trusted adults and seek support if they are experiencing mental health concerns.

  1. Support the wellbeing and mental health needs of teachers

Schools should also have programs to support the emotional and mental health needs of teachers. Teachers have high rates of burnout due to the cognitive and emotional workload they have to manage. Because they are the primary guardians of students’ mental and emotional health, their mental health must be protected.

Anxiety, depression and feelings of being lost and disconnected are on the rise among teens. There are countless studies that show this. Schools, parents and policymakers must work together to urgently come up with innovative policies and implementation programs to guide children through these challenges.

Published by:

Smarica Pants

Published on:

June 4, 2024