Five ways of promoting mental wellbeing in education institutions
Mental illness has become an important and widespread issue in society today, and one that, increasingly we are recognising needs tackling properly.
As such, we are seeing more and more efforts being made to try and curb the rise of mental illness, staring with young children all the way through to adulthood.
Everyone in society has a role in shaping the adults of tomorrow and ensuring that they receive the emotional support and education they need to remain mentally resilient.
And the education industry sector is an important place where changes can be made and sustained into young adulthood. It’s important to guide students from a young age and give them tools that will enable them to cope with life then and into the future. With suicide rates skyrocketing and physical self-harm on the rise, it is important to catch issues early and equip young people adequately.
In this article we will talk about ways in which we can promote mental wellbeing in the student population.
Make mental wellbeing ‘cool’
Understanding how important it is to talk about your feelings and not bottle them up is essential to changing the notion of mental illness.
To some extent, the paradigm is shifting, but more needs to be done towards the shift. And this starts with trained individuals taking charge of the process and looking at schools regarding their wellbeing approaches and programmes.
If you plan on entering the field and playing a part in these students’ lives, CSWE accredited online MSW programs will help you gain relevant experience in the industry.
This is a chance for you to teach them bullying isn’t cool and that mental illness can affect anyone. And that bottling up emotions may not be the best idea. It’s important that this messaging is delivered in a way that children and young people can relate to and easily digest. These are sensitive topics, and children respond when you speak their language rather than jargon.
Make learning interactive and fun
Today’s students don’t spend as much time reading books as previous generations. The delivery of education as we know it has changed drastically, and so it is important to make the learning experience as interactive and fun as possible to help it resonate and engage with students.
More and more students respond to activity-based learning rather than simply sitting back and reading content. Having students engage with each other, paint, act, and demonstrate their emotions is one of the best ways to raise awareness about mental illness.
Psychodrama is another major avenue that demonstrates different mental illness factors and teaches children how important it is to talk about things that were once taboo.
How you approach the activity will vary from student to student and class to class. When conducting these sessions, it depends on the situation, environment, and general atmosphere.
Encourage group discussions
As important as academic information is, it’s also essential to promote positive values in the education system and teach children to speak. Open-ended discussions about feelings and emotions might seem outlandish, but that’s just because we aren’t used to it. Children are also more likely to open up than adults because they don’t have as many inhibitions.
Simply letting the conservation flow and giving everyone the chance to talk is one of the best things you can do to promote mental wellbeing. Even if the subject isn’t about emotions and personal feelings and is a general discussion, letting students have their voices heard is a major step in the right direction.
Sometimes students may become reserved because they feel like their opinions don’t hold value. Encouraging them to speak up in class is one of the best ways to teach them how to express themselves and let them know that their opinions count for something.
Encourage students to pursue extracurricular activities
A student with a passion is more likely to be a passionate student; the more they engage in something they enjoy, the more likely they will remain mentally sound.
Hobbies and interests have a special way of making us feel happy in life and improving our general mood. Moreover, it gives students something to look forwards to and develop a passion for.
Deriving interest and meaning from something more than academics are integral to promoting good mental wellbeing. Being a bookworm will rarely lead to positive emotions and can result in the students becoming depressed.
Parents need to take a leading role in this as well. Encourage your children to form passions and interests. Encourage them to socialize and become well-rounded members of society. These factors will add up and positively affect their professional lives and keep them mentally sound.
Promote an open environment
Give your students the kind of space where they can talk to members of the administration. Teachers, coordinators, and even principals need to be accessible to the students to get their opinions out in the open.
Creating a space where they feel heard is extremely important when promoting mental wellbeing.
Moreover, each school should have at least two counselors to ensure students have someone to open up to if the need ever arises.
School counselors allow students to talk about their feelings and have a safe space to release. Some kids won’t talk to their friends or family members but might be more comfortable talking to a school counselor. It’s free therapy for the people who need it, and if you provide them with the room to speak, then they probably will.
How can you promote wellbeing in young people?
In this article we have touched on some of the way you can promote mental wellbeing in education institutions. Whether it’s junior school or college, these points remain constant regardless of what kind of organization they hail from.
From making it ‘cool’ to encouraging approachability, the above mentioned points can go a long way in making the school environment a friendlier place.
We hope that you have taken something positive away from this article and that you can put things into practice in the future. If we don’t start taking an active lead in shaping our students, mental illness and other issues will cause unhappiness and issues in society. Take charge, play a part and let’s change the future.
Photo by Garrett Jackson