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Exploring the importance of protecting student mental health

Updated: Nov 22, 2023

Guest post by John Bramer

School can be a challenging time, especially for students who are struggling with their mental health. Many things can affect a student's well-being in education, from exam stress to friendship breakups and social media pressures. Naturally, we want young people to thrive and excel in the school environment, so it's crucial to provide them with adequate support and guidance during tough times. In this guide, we will discuss the importance of safeguarding the mental health of our students as their teachers and caregivers.

How does mental health affect students?

Many students come into the education system with preexisting mental health conditions and may already be receiving treatment from a GP or counselor. However, others may be struggling with mental health issues but are not receiving any support. This can lead to them suffering in silence and underachieving in various areas of their lives.

To better support these students, we must recognize the warning signs and the difficulties they may face. For example, a student may have stopped interacting with their social group or may not be participating in class as much as they used to. These behaviors can often be indicative of depression or anxiety, which are two of the most common mental health conditions affecting children, teenagers, and young adults.

It's important to understand that various circumstances can cause a student to feel emotionally overwhelmed. Sometimes, it may be a problem at home or cyberbullying, while other times, it may be something as simple as the loss of a pet or gossip within a friendship group. It's crucial to remember that different students will react to life events in different ways, and the triggers and causes of their mental health problems won't always accurately indicate the severity of their suffering.

What can we do to help?

Encourage conversation

Discussing emotions may not necessarily solve the issue, but it could be a great way to alleviate the complexity of emotions. Teachers, parents, and guardians can make a significant impact on the lives of young individuals by initiating the dialogue around mental health. By creating a haven for students to share their thoughts and feelings, they can make a big difference.

Utilize mental health services

There are plenty of services that schools can utilize to provide better support to their students struggling with mental health difficulties. Heaps of nonprofits are dedicated to placing counselors in schools, delivering informative presentations, and running interactive student workshops.

Educate one another

It's common for students to struggle with mental health problems because they don't fully understand what they're feeling. By educating young people about mental health, we can help them develop healthier coping skills and take control of their lives. Teachers and caregivers can contribute by staying aware and continuing to learn about mental health.

Why is it important to protect student mental health?

Every person deserves the best start in life, not only during the formative years at home but also during the time spent at school and university. Education is a gift, but it comes with challenges, and our experiences during our academic years shape us into the people we become later in life. It is crucial to protect students' mental health, as it not only benefits the individual but also prepares and safeguards the entire future generation.

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