Maintaining good mental well-being is essential for everyday life, especially for students. The rising rate of anxiety and depression among students and young adults is becoming alarming. Children experience many factors that can affect their mental well-being. These include bullying in schools (in-person or cyber), family conflict, peer pressure, and social media status/image obsession. The overwhelming feelings can harm students’ overall health and performance, leading to lower grades, less engagement in classes, and an increased likelihood of dropping out. Overall, this affects their learning experience and potential to bloom into thriving adults. So, listed below are some ways you, as a teacher or education administrator, can promote good mental well-being among students at school. These tips will empower you to help them acquire the coping skills they need to flourish in the classroom and their personal lives.
1. Have a school counselor present
School counselors play a crucial role in academic development and promoting good mental health among students. These professionals help students overcome complex issues like bullying or social exclusion by helping them develop coping strategies. Counselors also help students channel their energy into their studies. In addition, school counselors play an essential role in preventing and early identification of mental health problems among youngsters. They work closely with teachers, psychologists, parents, and administrators to ensure that students’ physical and psychological needs are met. They also keep track of student attendance, academic progress, and any behavioral changes. As such, they can quickly identify students who require additional support by providing referrals to other professionals as needed.
Schools can hire a skilled counselor to ensure students always have access to help on campus. Or motivated teachers can also pursue specialized higher education in psychology online to fill the role. The digital route is a fast and flexible way for schools to train their staff and provide a more holistic experience on campus.
2. Encourage open communication
Students often face many issues in and outside schools they may not be willing to talk about openly. Suffering in silence takes a toll on their academic performance and social interactions in school. This is why teachers need to encourage communication in the classroom to help create a positive environment for students to discuss issues they may be facing. Open communication enables students to feel confident that they can share their fears without being judged. This way, teachers can be more aware of the mental trouble they may be facing and intervene to provide support.
Fostering an environment for open communication in the classroom can also help students who stutter. Children who stutter often feel uncomfortable talking in front of others because they fear interruptions or negative reactions from others. Encouraging them to speak openly about their thoughts and feelings is one-way teachers can improve their sense of self-worth and acceptance by their peers.
3. Dedicating time to mental health awareness
You can dedicate time for mental health awareness by organizing an event or creating course material that focuses on positive mental health. Incorporating awareness into the course work can be part of a more significant, ongoing effort to provide various resources for all types of people struggling with mental illnesses. This strategy is similar to other methods you use to create a safe space for multiple groups in your school, such as instituting anti-bullying policies. Over time, you can reduce the stigma associated with mental illness and provide students with resources they might need during times of trouble.
4. Welcoming and greeting students
When students arrive at school, it is essential for them to feel welcomed. This will make them feel safer and more comfortable. If students come to school and feel like they are being judged negatively, they will be less likely to want to return the following day. This can cause problems at home because their grades will start to suffer, which will create stress for the student and their parents.
So, it is important to greet all students with a friendly hello in the morning. When you do this, you let your students know they are accepted no matter what they may have done the previous day. When a student feels welcomed, they will be more willing to contribute to class discussions and answer questions from their teachers. They will also be more inclined to participate in after-school activities such as sports.
Many students struggle with stress, anxiety, or depression at one time or another, but this does not have to be the case. Promote a culture of good mental health at your school and understand how to identify mental illness. By doing so, you can prevent these issues from affecting students’ learning experience.