The issue of mental health for children is as daunting as it is necessary. It is certainly troubling to realize that children ranging from 14 years and above go through immense mental trauma because they are anxious, depressed or have eating disorders.
Importance of Mental Health For Students
The importance of mental health for students can never be stressed too much. If a child has mental health issues, it generally shows up before he or she is 15, but certainly in the teen years. This is the child’s peak education period when he makes life choices and takes all opportunities to lay strong career foundations for himself.
At such a time, the need for having normal mental health cannot be underestimated. A child free from mental health issues stands to gain. With mental health programs in schools, children can see these differences in their lives:
- Excel in academics
- Be able to withstand hard times
- Have enough confidence and the necessary skills to seek help for early intervention
If a child is seen struggling to do well in the classroom, generally feel demotivated as they are academically weak and don’t seem to have it in them to concentrate, learn, do tests and overall, perform well.
Mental health in schools is a gigantic problem, but with early intervention the child can be like his peers very soon.
Role of the Teacher in Promoting Mental Health
A teacher plays a very significant role in promoting mental health programs in school among disturbed children. There are many ways in which a teacher can do this. These are:
- The role of the teacher in promoting mental health among school kids begins with the early detection of such problems. With school-based counselling programs, the child can take his first steps to get over his mental issues.
- The teacher can also instill specialized skills such as conflict management, problem solving skills, and emotion management so that he can cope better at school and home.
- The teacher can also foster a strong relationship with this student, and encourage parents to do the same. This can have a positive bearing on the child’s mental health and build mental health and wellbeing.
How to Know Your Child Has Mental Health Issues
The scope of mental health is not restricted to mental illness. It’s all about being in a healthy state where one can cope with day-to-day stress, concentrate in the classroom and remain connected with his friends and the community.
Here are some of the leading mental health issues seen in school kids:
Children experiencing anxiety feel a constant unease or fear which has a strong bearing on their daily lives. In fact, they cannot think beyond it.
Depressed children have negative moods, feel low and have no interest in anything happening around them. They have low self-esteem, guilt and lack concentration, an appetite and experience disturbed sleep.
- Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
This is a neurological condition that is seen in the early childhood of such children, generally before they turn three. Children suffering with ASD can be recognized by their difficulty in interacting with others and communicating with them. The severity of this condition may vary from child to child.
This psychological disorder deals with one’s thoughts and perceptions that lead one to lose touch with the real world and live in an imagined world.
This is seen in one’s late teens, and generally causes delusions, disordered behaviors, thinking and delusions.
- Eating Disorders
If you see a child with eating disorders, it’s due to the mental health issue he faces. This can lead to the child eating very little or too much. He could also be obsessed with his body shape or his weight.
- Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
A child with ADHD generally has a problem with his attention span, or he may display behaviors such as hyperactivity and impulsive behaviors.
Promoting Mental Health And Well Being In Your School
By timely and early intervention on the part of parents, teachers and medical personnel, children can come out of their problems and lead normal lives like their peers.
Here are some ways by which you can help them emerge winners:
- Actively Promote Self-Esteem
Provide students with the tools and skills necessary to resolve conflict and the inevitable setbacks they’ll face. Boost their self-confidence by supporting good decision making, assertiveness, perseverance, and self-determination
- Encourage Students to Eat Nutritious Food
The teacher should encourage students to eat healthy food and offer them such food. This will take his attention away from stress and the fear he experiences.
- Introduce Children to Anxiety-Relieving Activities
Sports, activities that need the use of his hands and mind, painting, drawing and creating objects, apart from meditation, can help him relieve him of his anxiety.
- Teachers Should Work with Parents
Parents should work along with teachers to find ways of helping kids out of their mental health issues. Once the child begins to trust his teacher, the latter should build on this by slowly introducing him to states of positive wellbeing. The teacher should encourage parents to do the same at home so that the child feels loved and wanted.
By creating a health and wellbeing working model, teachers and parents can arrive at a happy situation for children with mental health issues.
Mental health issues among children aren’t anything to be ashamed of. Parents need to take the lead in having their children treated as early as possible so that they are able to cope with their academic workload and other stresses.
UNS Edutech: The Science CentreUNS EduTech is a startup from the IIT Madras campus focusing on concept building by applying principles of active learning. Currently, UNS EduTech is offering live interactive sessions for the student from class 9th to 12th grade, JEE, NEET, KVPY, etc