In recent years, a push towards wellness and de-stigmatizing mental health means that these issues have become a common topic of conversation in the workplace and beyond, though being a student can sometimes be overlooked.
One area in which these conversations occur less frequently is within schools or educational facilities – despite the fact that “one in seven 10-19-year-olds will experience some form of mental disorder.” Furthermore, as happy, supported students contribute significantly to a successful school performance, it’s clear that changes need to be made sooner rather than later.
With that in mind, here are some simple steps that educators can take to improve and promote student wellbeing.
Tackle The Cause, Not The Symptoms.
If you’ve noticed that a high volume of students are reporting low mood or anxiety, it goes without saying that you should have systems in place to ensure they receive access to adequate support. However, it’s equally vital that you figure out the root of these feelings, especially if your school environment is a significant contributing factor to their problems. For example, many students reported feeling more anxious about returning to school post-pandemic than they had previously. Educators can support this by creating a space for open and honest dialogue within the classroom. You should also discuss how COVID-19 precautions reduce risks.
Conduct Regular Wellbeing Surveys.
When struggling, many young people prefer to keep their thoughts and feelings to themselves. There are various reasons for this, such as not wanting people to worry, or not wanting to embarrass themselves in front of their peers. Unfortunately, this means some students may not reach out to ask for support, leaving educators and parents blind to their true feelings. Wellbeing surveys, conducted using a school wellbeing survey tool, can come in handy here. This is because they allow students to submit regular feedback digitally. As a generation raised on technology, they may feel more comfortable using this software to express themselves than they would verbally. You can use the data from this survey to implement important changes or signpost children towards additional support.
Remember That Every Student Is Different.
No two students are the same – which means that educators cannot apply a ‘blanket method’ when it comes to tackling mental health in the classroom. As such, you should remember that every student is different, and their feelings, therefore, require different responses. For example, educators should be informed of when a conversation can remain between the two of them, or when further signposting is necessary. This is because in some cases, students may require more support than the teacher can give them.
Have Open And Honest Conversations About Mental Health.
The key to breaking down stigma, especially surrounding mental health, is to stop being silent about it. When students see that conversations about difficult topics don’t have to be hidden, they are more likely to come forward. It can make them feel less alone. As a result, you should make it clear that the classroom is a safe space for open dialogue and conversation. This will also encourage students to look out for each other too.