We call a ‘School’ as a child’s second home as most values of life-both educational and non-educational are learnt while the child goes through the journey of his/her schooling.
A child spends most of his/her growing years in the school, a time period which has the most influence on the development of the child holistically.
When we understand the importance of schooling in a child’s life, it is important to also understand that it is a school’s responsibility to make the influence as positive as possible.
Imagine this scenario keeping in mind the fact that each human being is different:
‘ A school usually has classes from playgroup to 10th grade or in some cases till 12th grade. Each class on an average consists of 35 students. Each student is coming from a different background, different socio-economic strata, sometimes from different states or countries along with a different set of upbringing. Combining all the grades’ classes, teachers, administration, helping staff, transport staff and so on; a huge set of heterogeneous groups exists in an institution working towards making a child’s education, morality, social dynamics and life skills better. How can one avoid conflicts, misunderstandings, fights, judgements, or any other kind of mishaps? I guess it is very unavoidable!
But, how can one avoid the unhealthy influence of these conflicts, misunderstandings, fights, judgements, or any other kind of mishaps on a child’s education, morality, social dynamics and life skills?
Mental health awareness is the only way in which such large scale concerns can be handled effectively. Let us understand how exactly mental health awareness can help in schools:
Schools now have started appointing counselors or special educators to conduct certain life skills classes or classes on social emotional learnings. These classes work as a preventive measure along with spreading awareness about various strategies to manage mental health concerns. These classes help in understanding the concerns faced by children, help them share about the same, help them understand the peer support and that they aren’t alone in this. It opens up various channels for them to seek proper support for concerns observed and expressed. Such awareness can then help reduce risks of major mental health concerns in children like depression, suicide or panic.
2. Coping skills:
When mental health awareness steps are taken in school, it provides information to children about various concerns that they might be facing but never openly talked about or could not identify the causes of. Helping children understand constructs and management of anxiety, depression, stress, self-doubt etc can help them identify accurately what they are facing which in turn can help them seek proper support and again avoid the risk of these concerns taking the best of the children in future.
3. Healthy adults:
As the schools serve a base of children’s well being as well as for forming their perspective towards life as an adult, the awareness which spreads about inclusion, being empathetic, accepting of differences and having a non-judgemental attitude would help them grow into healthy adults. They would also be equipped with coping skills to face the challenges that adult life brings for them. All in all it would help them to be healthy adults as well as nurture the future generation healthily.
On the whole, it is of extreme importance especially after such a life changing experience of pandemic, that we spread awareness about mental health concerns in schools. This would not only help children at that age for the concerns observed at that time but also help them become aware individuals which will in turn break the stigma about mental health issues which is so prevalent currently.
Let’s break the stigma together by working at the very grassroots level!