Many schools have lectures about physical health education, hygiene, nutrition, and even sanitation, but not about Mental Health Education; why? Simply because most of the people do not realize the importance of mental health education, or they don’t see it like other illnesses (physical).
Although it’s a fact that mental health problems often begin during school times, even after people grow up, they still feel uncomfortable openly talk about how they feel emotionally. The major cause of this is the stigma and the misconceptions that people have about mental illness.
Hence, the first place to begin with when it comes to spreading awareness about the importance of health education is schools! It’s time to consider young people’s mental health seriously and teach them about the importance of mental health education right from their child-age.
In this article, I will talk about the reasons behind the importance of mental health education and a few methods through which schools can provide mental health education to students. So let’s take a deeper look into it!
Mental Health Education – Why should schools look into it?
Schools are the exact places where the entire life of children takes shape. They prepare the younger ones to deal with various obstacles that would cross their path in the real world. Nowadays, most schools teach about various principles of health education, including nutrition and sex education. Similarly, children should be taught how to recognize their mental problems, talk about them, and ask for help to get them solved!
The importance of mental health education in schools is immense. People need to realize that mental illness is just the same as any other health issue and should be cured in the same way. Below are major reasons why mental health education should be a part of the school curriculum:
- Helps to analyze their current state
Usually, problems related to physical illness can be recognized and discussed with others easily. However, when it comes to mental health, it’s quite the opposite. Apparently, without proper mental health education, students will not be able to learn to recognize the problem they are facing, talk about it openly, get help and even help others who are facing the same.
Schools have to provide knowledge on how to recover from mental health education and look at it just the way you’d look at any other health issue. Children struggling with mental health issues should know how to tackle them and find a solution rather than ignoring them.
Besides, while the problems might arise due to various reasons, most causes of mental problems faced by people are impacts of other illnesses or an injury caused in their daily life. And by neglecting such issues, they only keep increasing. Therefore, it’s vital to provide children with mental health education right from an early age.
- Importance of Mental Health Education – Reduces anxiety & depression
During their school days, children face a range of mild to severe symptoms of mental problems. These contribute to the rise of two serious issues, anxiety and depression. Which finally influences their academic and social life behavior.
Anxiety disorders often prevent children from socializing and creating new connections. Sometimes they would even not attend their classes or talk to others properly. Similarly, depressed students find it tough to keep up with their academic loads, concentrate on work, or take care of their relationships.
Moreover, one of the causes behind anxiety and depression is the extensive use of social media. What is used for entertainment sometimes leaves deep scars and mental health imbalances in most users.
Besides, as these problems are common if not cured properly, they can directly impact the child’s ability to learn and grow.
So schools should take the plunge to teach the importance of health education and help students learn about self-love, how not to judge people, and talk about their insecurities without any fear.
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- Prevents suicidal attempts
The number of suicides being committed by adolescences is huge. A common reason behind suicidal attempts in young ones is mental health problems. Usually, teens are not able to stop and take a long-term view of a situation. Which sometimes makes them make really dangerous decisions like shortening their life.
If we really want to lower the rising suicide rate, especially in younger ones, schools should prioritize mental health education. When people start learning about mental health issues, they will also be able to recognize their problems and look at them from a different perspective.
This will have a positive impact on their mind as they will be able to cure their problem through therapies, talk more about them, and most importantly, acknowledge their problems. Ultimately they will be able to learn how to recover from mental health education!
- Helps in early interventions
Physical injuries, when ignored for up to a long time, lead to more pain. Similarly, mental illness, if ignored for long, destroys the entire life. It follows that, just like any other health issue, early interventions in mental health are equally essential.
Not only teachers, but almost everyone, including the school counselors, parents, and school psychologists, should learn how to detect early signs of mental health problems and spot the behavior of students experiencing mental health problems.
When recognized at an early stage, mental health issues can be stopped from fully growing up. Hence, apart from providing mental health education, everyone involved in the education of a student should teach them how to deal with such situations.
- Importance of Mental Health Education – Elimination of the roots
In addition to learning about the impacts of mental health problems, it’s important to learn about the roots of this cause because this will help in better recognition of the problems a student faces.
While there are several reasons behind mental health issues in young ones, the major ones are due to exam pressure, peer pressure, bullying at schools, highly strict teachers, excessive workload, the pressure to achieve high grades, alcoholism, modern technology, increasing use of social media and recognition of being an LGBTQ+.
When everyone learns how it feels to be stressed, and how to eliminate stress, a better and positive atmosphere can be created. This will provide a peaceful and relaxing environment for students, further reducing mental health issues!
How to promote Mental Health Education in Schools?
However, if the right interventions are provided at the right time, mental health issues can be cured and even prevented. Thus, here are some methods to promote mental health education in schools among students:
- Encourage students to get socialized
Students must understand the importance of good health and socialize. For this, schools can organize a weekly session, where students can get social and talk about other topics apart from academics. During these sessions, teachers can talk to their students and learn about their thoughts as well.
- Create clubs
Another way to promote mental health education is by creating clubs where students can get an opportunity to do other activities like crafts, drama, acting, sports, etc. Also, students can be given various group activities to help them get relaxed from their daily study pressure.
- Promote mental health talks
One of the reasons people avoid mental health conversations is because of their fear. Schools need to spread positive awareness amongst children through mental health education so that they never find it awkward to share their thoughts in public.
Students should be encouraged to share their problems and chat with their peers and friends to find a solution to their challenges. This way they will be able to understand that no one is different and there is nothing wrong in having a problem in life!
- Encourage positive self-esteem
Another way to solve mental health issues is by encouraging positive self-esteem. Awareness should be created amongst students regarding technologies and materials available for their help. Students should also be provided with the tools and skills required to solve their challenges.
It’s necessary to boost their confidence by supporting their good decisions, self-determination, and assertiveness. They should also be taught how to feel free to ask for help when they need it.
- Develop an open-door policy
In addition to teachings on the principles of health education, students should also be given the freedom to talk with their teachers about any issues they face. Teachers need to make them understand that they are always available for their students.
In fact, schools can even appoint designated teachers to support struggling students. Students can communicate with the teacher openly and honestly. The teacher can then help in solving the student’s issues.
Final Thoughts on the Importance of Mental Health Education
Mental health issues can be faced by anyone at any point in life. But if these issues are neglected they’ll destroy your health and eventually life. Therefore, schools should prioritize mental health education. And those who are facing mental illnesses should never be judged but encouraged to talk about it freely so that a solution can be found to their problem.
Frequently Asked Questions-
1) How can teachers be trained to provide mental health education?
Teachers can take training from professionals like psychologists, therapists, etc. Also, there are various training courses available for teachers. Professionals can also be called to schools to provide training to teachers. This can help them teach their students on how to recover from mental health education.
2) Is it possible to find solutions about mental health issues through technology?
Yes, there are certainly plenty of helplines and NGOs that provide guidance related to mental health. All you have to do is to talk to them on call or email. Moreover, there are many free and paid mental health apps such as mood quit, mind shift, etc. which you can use to boost your mental health.
3) How can I help a friend or family member who is stressed/ depressed?
You should try to talk to him or encourage him to visit a psychiatrist and tell him the issues he is facing. Also, make him understand how important mental health is and that it should not be neglected at any cost.
4) What are some activities that can be done for good mental health?
Several activities can be done to boost mental health. Some of these include meditation, listening to calm music, following your hobby, participating in community groups, etc.
5) What types of mental health professionals are available?
There are various types of mental health professionals such as a clinical psychologist, school psychologist, therapists, clinical social workers, mental health counsellors, etc. All these are trained professionals and you can seek help from them for any mental health issues.
Freelance Content Writer who enjoys reading, writing and travelling!