Importance of Mental Health Awareness among School Children
- 4 May 2023
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “mental health is a state of well-being that enables people to cope with the stresses of life, realize their abilities, learn and work well, and contribute to their community.” This means mental wellbeing is important at every stage in our life from childhood to adolescence and from adulthood to aging.
When we are mentally healthy, we enjoy our life to its full potential. We are also able to have a better social life and are more conscious towards our environment as well. We can be creative learners and try different things and take risks. Resilience is a key component which helps us to cope better in difficult times both personally and academically, even in the time of difficulties, we can apply skills which will help us to manage our emotions and get out of situations in a better compatible way.
According to UNICEF’s survey findings for 21 countries in The State of the World’s Children 2021 report, every one in seven youngsters between 15 and 24 years in India reported some form of poor mental health such as depression or disinterest and only 41% felt there was a need to reach out for support when people experienced mental health issues.
After the pandemic, because of restricted social contact and overexposure to the digital world, Gen Z and Gen Alpha were affected more than others. A rise in social anxiety and negative body image was seen very evidently. This also means that now schools and parents will have to take shared responsibility of educating students about mental health and creating a more accepting approach and creating willingness to work towards better mental health.
We at Oakridge enable different avenues to give students a more accepting and compassionate approach to talking about mental health. We support them to deal with difficulties that they are facing with the understanding that a chronically stressed brain is in survival mode and not in learning mode.
We have recently started a meditation room at Oakridge International School, Bengaluru to integrate a more mindful approach to working around difficult emotions. We also had a successful campaign on body positivity to create awareness of physical health and mental health and how both are important. We have a dedicated primary and secondary counsellor who takes individual counselling sessions and classroom sessions to develop the skill set of students to help them become resilient during difficult times.
“Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.” — Albus Dumbledore. This light can be relaxation techniques, diffusion techniques from difficult thoughts or techniques of self-acceptance. This can only be learned if one remembers that any difficulty is an opportunity for the students to learn skills that can be implemented for a lifetime.