Mental health is a rising issue among young students. According to statistics, 75% of mental health issues start in children before age 18. This can be attributed to many factors, including increasing academic competition, domestic issues, online bullying with increasing social media use, and the weight of expectations.
Fortunately, research tells us that through early involvement and intervention, 70% of mental health issues in children can be addressed.
In addition, after home, school is where children spend most of their time. Therefore, teachers and school administrators can take some impactful steps to promote positive mental health in school children. Here are a few ways to do so.
So, without further ado, let us get straight to the topic.
Stress and anxiety are a part of life. It is natural to feel stress under trying situations, which has spurred many to do extraordinary things. However, it can break down the best of us, and children are no exception. Stress is inevitable, and our approach to it dictates the outcome. Letting it linger does no good to physical health, much less our mental health. Teaching children healthy coping mechanisms to stress is the right way to promote good mental health.
As an educator, you can do a few things to show them how to go about stress. Introduce unwinding activities in the curriculum, activities like meditation or yoga. Sometimes, relieving that stress requires children to channel it in some form.
As an educator, it’s important to create that space for children where they feel safe channeling their charged thoughts and are not afraid of sharing them. Making them suppress their feelings is a recipe for worsening the problem.
Through school psychology programs online accredited by NASP, educators can understand what children go through to help them be proactive and effective in preventing any mental health issues from developing early on.
Encouraging students to spend more time outdoors
Learning indoors can become a bit monotonous, and children tend to stop looking forward to anything if there is no change. For that purpose, encourage teachers to take classes outdoors on a fine sunny morning or some pleasant spring day.
Explain that math concept in the sunshine. It is an excellent way for your students to enjoy and remember the lesson. Let them sit among the trees and learn in the fresh air. It will bring a welcome change to the monotony and give all of them a lesson to remember. Gardens in the school can be a good place for students to enjoy their lessons.
Good physical health also translates to good mental health. So, schools should ensure children have enough time outdoors to study and play games rather than being cooped up in classrooms. It will help children take their minds off their curriculum and give them something to enjoy while promoting good physical growth and mental health.
Body-shaming is a real problem, a measure used by bullies on campus and online to torment their victims. Many schools have zero-tolerance policies against body-shaming and bullying of this sort. But the problem is still very much prevalent, and no strict measures will eliminate the problem entirely.
While taking measures against body-shaming is good, teaching children about how important their body is; is equally important.
Schools should reinforce the message that all people are made different, and that diversity is a good thing that should be cherished.
Encouraging better self-esteem
A school is a place for children to learn various skills. While learning the sciences and math is important, it is essential to understand that not all will excel at it. Forming a curriculum that can explore the hidden potential in a child is important to their self-esteem.
The next great tennis player might be sitting in your classroom struggling with geography or the next great chef failing your biology class. With an inclusive curriculum, you will be to find children's strengths and work to hone them.
When they find something they are good at, children tend to enjoy it and do it more often. With the right tools and a little encouragement, you can help them excel at something they are good at and not make them feel bad about struggling in one subject. Your education policies, some good counseling, and belief in students can go a long way in helping students excel at things they love.
Creating an inclusive environment
Children need to feel loved and included rather than rejected. Fostering an inclusive environment is key to creating a healthy, safe environment for children to thrive. As an educator, team-building exercises can do wonders in achieving that goal and creating an open environment for children to share their feelings.
Try incorporating physical exercises like a group jump rope in the playground or classroom. It will make children work together, learn about each other's strengths, and give them something to bond with. A team scavenger hunt can be a wonderful way to awaken their adventurous spirit while helping them work together and understand each other's strengths and weaknesses.
Team sports are a wonderful way to keep children physically active while also helping them bond with each other. Sports like soccer and basketball inculcate a healthy competitive environment, and teamwork also creates a healthy, inclusive environment in the classroom.
While this environment is good for children in school to thrive in, it is also important to keep parents/guardians in the loop. Continuing that environment at home is essential to good mental health. Children have to feel accepted by their close ones and family members. Regular meetings with the parents are a wonderful way to keep in the loop and appraise their child's progress.
Schools are second homes for children where they spend most of their time after their homes. A healthy school environment can go a long way in nurturing their mental well-being. Encouraging openness to cope with their feelings and better outdoor exposure can go a long way in instilling good values and positive self-esteem. Playing team sports can help create that inclusive environment while promoting a positive body image. These little steps can go a long way to form well-rounded adults for society.