Undoubtedly, mental health awareness is the need of the hour. It is especially true in the era of competitiveness when we are focused on pressuring students to work harder to achieve their goals. In this process, their mental health takes a backseat. We must teach them how to handle failures and teach them to tackle questions like: How do you keep working even when you fall short of achieving your goals? How do you handle repetitive failures? How do you handle letting your parents down? How can you be inspired by the successful people around you and not envy them?
The answer to these questions lies in better mental health. You need to train your mind to deal with life’s challenges. The earlier you start working towards a healthier mindset, the better it gets. This is why there is a greater need for mental health awareness at school.
Why is Mental Health Awareness Important In Schools?
Poor Mental Health Impacts Students at Large
If a student has poor mental health, to them, failures look more catastrophic than they actually are. As a result, they will show low productivity in school activities, get easily distracted and develop unhealthy coping mechanisms to deal with their issues.
Positive encouragement in schools can be of great help to such students. When students are allowed to participate in different activities, this boosts their overall confidence. Participating instils a sense of self-awareness in them.
Mental Health Awareness prevents chronic diseases
It is essential to focus on a student's mental health while they are in school. If a child indicates anxiety and depression, they should be offered support without making it too obvious. Having a school counsellor in schools is a step in the right direction. It gives students someone to approach for help.
Also, schools should focus on developing cooperative relationships between students and teachers. The students should be comfortable enough to share their issues with the teachers.
What affects your mind also affects your body. Mental health issues can lead to chronic diseases like heart issues, diabetes, depression and stomach issues. Early intervention and identification of poor mental health can make a lot of difference, which is why students must communicate with their teachers and be made aware that they have the support they need.
Students Spend the Majority of Their Time in Schools
Students spend more than half of their time in school and the other half thinking about schoolwork, tasks and what happened at school. The schooling phase is not the same for every child. Some face bullying, some face trouble in studies and others face the pressure of always having to earn top grades. For some students, the stress starts getting out of hand, which hampers their mental health. It can lead to mental health issues; they could exhibit signs of depression, suicidal thoughts, and self-harm.
For this reason, teachers and students should be encouraged to develop mental health awareness in schools. It allows them to identify the early signs of compromised mental health and understand how to cope with them. Mental health awareness in school enables teachers to learn how to deal with the situation. Empowering students at the right time can prevent them from the damage of poor mental health.
Helps in Eliminating the Stigma Behind Mental Illness
Spreading mental health awareness in schools will allow all students to understand the importance of sound mental health. Having guidance will help them to identify their health issues and how they can work on them.
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Above all, spreading awareness about mental health also ensures students do not see it as a mark of disgrace. It shouldn’t be a bullying matter. In fact, mental awareness helps students to live in solidarity and help each other out in difficult times. It will focus on not shaming others for being depressed or for being anxious. Furthermore, it would also make it very clear that seeking help in such a situation is not something to be looked down on; it is okay to seek help from counsellors, therapists, teachers, parents and even your friends.
Brings Everyone to the Same Level
Mental awareness in schools means allowing students’ feelings to be validated. When we talk about mental health awareness in school, it helps a student struggling with their mental health to feel heard. It allows them to feel validated and not feel alone.
Mental awareness also includes teaching students how to deal with a given situation. It not only helps them at the root level but later on in their life. They become less vulnerable to facing mental health issues in the future.
When students know the importance of a healthy mind, they work towards it holistically and with reason.
Mental Awareness can Eliminate Bullying
Bullying in schools and colleges is one of the main causes of poor mental health. As per reports, verbal bullying in India accounts for 55% of the incidents, whereas physical bullying affects 32.7%.
While conducting mental awareness sessions may not always stop bullying, it gives a student the tools to deal with its effects. The effects of bullying on mental health are the worst. From anxiety and sleep disorders to low self-esteem, getting bullied for years throughout your school life is an experience no one deserves.
To make situations worse, often, school authorities do not support the bullied students. They do not punish the ones responsible for bullying and blame the bullied student for the inconvenience, which can stem from several reasons.
Creating mental awareness in schools can be a step toward valuing every student’s life and ensuring no one is discriminated against for any reason, including their sexuality, economic status, or their mental health. Mental awareness can act as a deterrent for bullies and can discourage them from bullying others.
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