While education is focused on the primary learning style of children, there are other concerns as well. One of those is boosting the mental health of the students.
This article will go through the different ways that you can promote mental health in your school.
Mental Health and Students
There are those who feel uncomfortable when discussing the mental health of students. They feel that the topic is too sensitive to be handled. While the prevalence of mental health problems among students is a real issue, there is a reason to be optimistic about it. According to research, 70% of mental health problems among students can be addressed through early intervention.
It’s crucial to identify the students who are struggling with mental health problems to provide them with the appropriate help. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), around 20% of students are being forced to deal with mental issues. What’s even more alarming is the fact that suicide is the second leading cause of death.
So, early intervention is crucial, and schools can play an integral role there.
Ways to Promote Mental Health in Schools
Here are some things that you can do to promote mental health in your school:
Start Promoting Positive Self-Esteem
One of the most effective ways of promoting mental health in schools is encouraging positive self-esteem among students. Various ways can be achieved, and one of those is supporting and encouraging good decision-making among the students.
Teachers can also encourage other positive traits like assertiveness and perseverance. They should also encourage their students to make good decisions about little things while inside the classroom. Then, those decision-making skills can be applied later on in life.
By promoting self-esteem, the mental health of students can be encouraged.
Encourage Healthy Eating
It’s a common misconception that children do not fall victim to stress and anxiety and lead worry-free lives. The truth is that anxiety is one of the most commonly diagnosed mental disorders among children. According to the CDC, 7.1% of children aged 3-17 years old have anxiety disorders.
One way that teachers can help in fighting that is by encouraging healthy eating among students. Food has a clear connection with mental health. For example, some foods that may drive the body to release chemicals can alter a person’s mood. Examples of these foods include 1UP mushroom chocolate bars and caffeine.
Vegetables, grains, cereals, seafood, and garlic are just some foods that promote a healthy brain.
Establish Policies That Promote Mental Health
Sometimes, school is the place that triggers mental health issues. There are problems in the school that actually cause mental health problems. One such problem is bullying.
Bullying has always been a problem in schools. Teachers cannot be there all the time to oversee the interaction of students among themselves, and there are always opportunities for bullying to happen. Unfortunately, bullying can make mental health problems worse. In extreme cases, it can lead to suicide.
Teachers and school admins should have programs that promote mental health, like those that discourage bullying. Positive programs that promote good mental health should also be encouraged.
Display Relevant Materials
Display infographics and other materials in the school that promotes mental health. These materials are not just for the students but the parents as well. In addition, there are printable materials from reputable sources like National Alliance on Mental Illness, which can help educate students about mental health.
Establish an Open Door Policy
Make it clear to the students that you are open and available to listen to their problems. Sometimes, students just need someone who can listen to the things they are dealing with, and you are available for that can mean the world to them.
Some students might be hesitant to speak about what they are going through, and by clearly stating that they can come to you directly or to other teachers, they would know that they have someone who will listen to their problems.
When students try to reach out to you, take note of the little openers they might throw at you to start a conversation about their problems. Remember, it is not easy for them to speak up about their problems, giving them all the encouragement.
Provide Places Students Can Relax
Make sure that your school has areas where students can rest and relax. It should be a separate room where they can go when they feel overwhelmed and feel safe. In addition, the area should be near where you or other teachers can easily monitor it.
You can add a few lounge chairs to a room. But don’t place items there for entertainment that can cause boisterous behavior. Remember, it should be a safe space.
Start Activities That Help Relieve Anxiety
You need to start school activities that can help relieve stress and anxiety. For example, sports can be an excellent way for students to have an outlet that would help them release their stress and anxiety.
A time-proven practice that relieves stress and anxiety is that of meditation. There are many types of meditation, and most of those are actually recommended by some mental health experts.
Make Teachers and Admins Aware
The teachers and the other people that run schools are the ones handling the students. If they are unaware of the mental health issues that students might face or the right way of handling them, they can cause problems. So, all school personnel who interact with students must have some level of understanding about mental health problems.
Education should be focused on children’s primary learning style, but that’s not the only thing that schools should be concerned about. Teachers should also be concerned about the mental health of their students. They should ensure that schools are safe spaces for students to address their mental health problems correctly and adequately. They should also seek guidance from mental health professionals when necessary.
Where to Get Help?
Where you seek help depends on the problem and the symptoms. Start with your local mental health agency. If you think you need to see a psychologist or psychiatrist, your primary care doctor can typically recommend one.