Young adults spend most of their time in school. A teacher’s duty is to guide students with ethics, morals and physical health. As a result, teachers are often the first to notice mental health problems in children.
Mental health is more than dark rooms and crying endlessly to sad songs. Sometimes it’s getting up, going to school or university, slapping on a smile all day, followed by hasty goodbyes. It continues with coming home and feeling completely hollow, doing nothing until it’s time to fall asleep. Sadly, it goes unrecognized.
RECOGNIZING POOR MENTAL HEALTH
Examination pressures and unrealistic expectations
The overwhelming exam pressure can have a significant effect on students’ mental health. In addition, students are stressed by the amount of information they need to know to succeed. Most students are also terrified that a poor grade will ruin their future.
The newfangled technological world
Young people now spend much more time indoors rather than outside. Academic work makes it almost impossible to play a game of football in the park. Hence, students take to online games to unwind.
Furthermore, young people are at a number of risks online, including exposure to upsetting content and cyber bullying. This may have a severe impact on their mental health. Social media also leads to reduced communication skills and reduced human interaction with friends.
Students who identify as LGBTQ+ often find it difficult to come out to their friends and family due to fear of being shunned. This could lead to gender dysphoria. Furthermore, feelings of loneliness, isolation, and worry prevail, as they try to remain true to themselves.
Right from the start, men and women are differentiated and told about what kind of responsibilities each have to perform without even considering what an individual is capable of achieving. Gender roles dictate that men should be burdened with the onus for providing for their families; inability to do so is often seen as a failure. Sadly, schools propagate this bias.
Further, some institutions take it too far with the excessive control over the attire of girls. They make really odd assumptions and unrelated accusations, which instills no extra sense of discipline. In many cases, it merely leads to loss of morale and self-esteem. That, in the long run, may develop into depression.
TEACHERS CAN HELP
Helping with communication
Teachers can help promote social and emotional competency. With some changes in moral education, they can also encourage students to build resilience.
Safe school environment
Teachers can be a little more open. As a result, they can encourage students with bad family backgrounds to gain a teacher’s confidence. All this will ensure a positive and safe school environment for mental health.
A teacher’s message should be positive behaviors to guide students with mental health. In addition, instead of pitting students against each other, teachers can motivate students to help each other.
Ending the stigma
Firstly, a teacher’s message should guide with discussions on mental health. For instance, they can start with preaching that mental health is just as important as physical health.
Secondly, it is not okay to try and invalidate people’s mental illness.
- “You’re too young to have depression.”
- “Stop feeling sorry for yourself.”
- “You have everything you need.”
These dialogues need to stop floating around.
Lastly, teachers should build a community that focuses on mental health. It should start with school-based mental health supports. Meanwhile, staff, parents, and students should be educated about symptoms of mental health problems.
Mental health issues do not disappear at school. And the worst part? People expect you to behave as if you are fine. People still get segregated into categories of negativity and toxicity and are left to drown in it on their own.
Teachers can guide the students and help them with knowledge about mental health. Above all, they can help address recurring toxic thoughts to prioritize mental health.