Minding Their Minds: Guide to Nurturing Students’ Mental Health
‘A child’s mental health is just as important as their mental health.’-Kate Middleton
‘Mental health’ has now become a buzzword, Indeed we have come far in developing our understanding of it and have grown in our capacities. However, we are still far from addressing the concern to its fullest. To be able to move towards establishing absolute well-being will be an uphill task, daunting too as it calls for breaking several stereotypes, barriers, stigmas, and taboos. But as mentors and educators, it is our responsibility to take it on priority and adopt a preventive approach towards it.
Awareness and acceptance
Denial shall serve no purpose, the first step in this regard will begin with awareness and acceptance. This will help us to successfully create a conducive environment and a positive climate for our students. School, often called a child’s second home should be developed as a safe and happy space for a child to grow unfettered. An environment where they are heard and understood.
Willingness to go beyond classrooms
This also calls for a robust and effective, specially curated ‘School mental health program’. Initiatives to spread awareness, empower with knowledge and life skills, and train to face challenges by developing a sense of responsibility and self-control in students on one hand and problem-solving and decision-making abilities on the other.
The success of the school mental health program shall depend on the participation and cooperation of all the stakeholders. The parents, teachers, and staff should be in agreement with the need, the benefits, and the significance of the same. Also shall be ready to take initiative, support and actively participate in fostering the goals of the program for the well-being of the students.
Constructive engagement and habits
Inculcating good habits is of utmost importance as gradually they emerge as a strong shield to deal with vulnerabilities and make us stronger to deal effectively with challenges. The primary benefit is good health, further, it also gives a sense of purpose and a goal towards self-development that can prove to be transformational in the long run.
Modeling good coping skills
It is rightly said, ‘values and attitudes are CAUGHT not TAUGHT.’ As teachers and mentors, we need to be good role models to be able to promote social and emotional competency and build resilience among our students. We should create and encourage an environment where ‘Asking for help’ no more remains a taboo but a skill that helps us to find solutions, gain insights and help in taking mindful decisions. Good role modeling will also act as reinforcement of positive behaviors.
The rapidly changing environment, unreasonable comparisons, expectations, and ever-growing challenges can often become overwhelming for parents, teachers, educators, and students but we can change the scenario by committing ourselves to the tenets of well-being and by being ready to collaborate and extend a helping hand to each other.