Tackling Mental Health Problems in Schools
For many people, their school days have provided them with some of the best times of their life. However, others often find it’s given them some of their most difficult. It’s been reported by the Mental Health Foundation that mental health problems affect about 1 in 10 children and young people. So, is there anything that teachers can do to help prevent students from suffering?
What is mental health?
Being mentally healthy is important. When you’re in good mental health, it’s more likely that you’ll be able to make the most of your potential, cope with life and play a full part in your family, community and friendship group. And that’s why it’s essential for teachers to tackle mental health problems in schools.
There’s a wide range of issues that can kickstart someone’s mental health, such as if they’re being bullied. No matter how big or small, without it being tackled in the classroom, it can often spiral out of control and lead to things such as self-harm, stress, anxiety and depression.
There’s often a stigma attached to having a mental health issue. And people who suffer often hide their problems to themselves as they’re afraid of how others will react.
What can teachers do to help?
Earlier in the year, schools across the UK were warned that financial pressures were restricting the ability of supporting children suffering with mental health problems.
As an authoritative figure in the classroom, teachers have a duty to their students. It’s all about trying to build their confidence and showing them that they’re in a safe environment. In a previous blog post about mental health, we spoke about how teaching staff sometimes make the mistake of fussing over a student that’s suffering.
However, this is something you’ll want to avoid. Instead, try some of the following techniques:
Reduce pressure in the classroom by breaking tasks down
Offer reassurance – tell students that they’ll be able to catch up on missed deadlines
Provide a helping hand when someone’s struggling with a specific subject or topic
Be a friendly face and create a positive atmosphere in the classroom
Make sure students know that it’s not acceptable to label or stigmatise mental health
Allow students some space and time – have a quiet corner or private area for when needed
Get in touch with parents when necessary
Remember, all students are different and are likely to handle mental health in various ways. If you need more tips and advice for your UK teaching job or you want to learn more about international teaching jobs, turn to the REESON Education Blog. You’ll find everything you need to know about teaching in the UK or overseas in one place.