A healthy child is not one who is not only physically fit and does well in his/her studies, but who is also happy. Today, most children suffer from mental anxiety and depression from a very early age. The reasons can be many, including the experience of seeing a family fall apart, death of a loved one, sibling rivalry and so on. Studies have shown that 1 in 10 children have some kind of mental health problem and that 75% of adults with such problem have their roots at a very young age. Child mental health has a significant role to play in determining a child’s academic progress and well-being. And therefore, it is high time that mental health assessment of each child is undertaken with priority by the schools.
Recommended Read: 4 mental health issues faced by a teenager
Benefits of Promoting Children’s Mental Health in School
Today, children spend the major part of their day in school. They gain knowledge, learn new things, take part in physical activities, learn group activities and make friends. Schools have a duty of ensuring that the children learn well and grow up healthy and fine. But the wellbeing of children cannot be ensured unless schools incorporate Mental Health Awareness programs for children in their curriculum. This is why:
- Child mental health, when part of the study curriculum, gets increased attention by teachers, children and parents alike.
- Since a child is mentally tuned to learn new things in school, he/she will better adapt to the mental health awareness concepts when introduced in the school itself.
- Mental health studies and activities can offer children with some scope for fun and entertainment during which they automatically gain insight into and develop positive attributes like compassion, resilience, responsibility, gratitude, mindfulness, and kindness.
- Speaking of child mental health, the attributes mentioned above are best developed through workshops and group activities, which can be best organized by schools rather than by parents at home.
With the primary purpose of schools providing quality education, most teachers and educators are realizing the fact that a child with a mental health disorder can neither have good academic results nor be happy in his/her life. It is therefore important, that schools must equip children with the skills and the knowledge to take charge of their own happiness. And the earlier the training starts, the better will be the result.
Recommended Read: Teach Your Children How to Express Their Feelings
Ways of Imparting Mental Health Awareness in Schools
Child Mental Health as a part of the school curriculum is better imparted through practical exercises than bookish knowledge. Starting from organizing workshops to recruiting happiness instructors to look after the mental development of each child, schools can impact mental health awareness in various possible ways, some of which are as follows:
Children can be given specific tasks through which they can showcase their attributes like helpfulness, kindness, gratitude and so on. They can perform certain tasks and display them for everyone to see, while they themselves realize the happiness that possessing these attributes bring.
The class teachers are the best person to understand the children in a particular class and detect the chances of child mental health disorder in them through their behavior, a pattern of response and academic growth. Accordingly, schools can conduct a mental health counseling every month or at regular intervals to speak to each child individually and understand their concerns.
Children can be encouraged to participate in community works like visiting orphanages, old age homes or helping a blind man cross the road, giving one of their own clothes to a poor child and so on. Through these programs, children can learn about the importance of finding joy in small but significant positive acts.
Recruiting Specially Trained Mental Health Teachers
Not everyone can understand what goes on inside a child’s mind. Schools can recruit teachers who are adept in child psychology and know the most desirable way of improving a child’s overall well-being.
Child mental health is an issue that needs immediate attention, and schools must take up this responsibility to prevent the cases of depression and anxiety in children.
Keep yourself updated with the latest on Mental Wellbeing. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for more on Health , Diet & Nutrition and Healthy Aging. Also, check out our Health Tools and try out our health-related Quizzes.