Make teachers proactive
The biggest challenge among teachers is a lack of awareness and knowledge about human developmental theories to proactively resolve mental health issues. The gap is widened due to little training given to teachers to recognize symptoms of mental health problems among school students by observing their engagement in class or group activities. Training the teachers in issues related to mental health is a way to empower and equip teachers to systematically observe learners’ behaviour patterns, recognize as well as document symptoms, and bring these to the attention of relevant specialists like counsellors or psychologists. Thus, bridging the gap is a necessity, so that immediate actions can be taken and made available to students.
, head (Pedagogy and Professional Development), Chaman Bhartiya School
Training aids detecting the symptoms
The most common reason teachers fail to detect symptoms of low mental health quotient among student
s is because of lack of training
. So, teachers need to be equipped with how to facilitate specialised counselling
deal with the problems. The training will enable them to follow extreme caution while addressing the problem. On observing the symptoms, teachers should be quick enough to allow the intervention of a qualified psychologist. In the process, teachers will gain the qualities of an effective communicator to dispel the stigma associated with seeking help as it will pave the wave for students, and parents, to approach them and arrive at a solution.
Vijayalakshmi K, HoD,
Student Wellness (Disha), Narayana Group of Educational Institutions
The quality of learning taking place among students cannot be achieved by ignoring their social or emotional needs. Teachers are primary caregivers for the students as they spend the most time with them, hence, they are tasked to boost the development of emotional quotient among students. For executing the same, teachers’ training on core concepts of mental health, ways of offering psychological help and capacity building at the school administration level will be a boon. Through this, teachers can take the right call as per the situation, soon after understanding the warning signs. In the classroom setting also, till the time a mental health expert is involved to address the psychological-emotional needs of the students, teachers will be well-equipped to handle the situation with empathy in teaching and interactions.
, co-founder, PeakMind
Observe the behaviour closely
The best way to ensure the good mental health of children in a classroom is by having mentally fit teachers. For students to experience mental well-being, a healthy environment must be created. A teacher who can take quick decisions in tough situations can handle emotional distress in students. These traits will enable them to mindfully respond to the students’ bad behaviour with consideration instead of punishment. Such teachers will be constructive in their feedback to guide students toward progress irrespective of their good or bad academic performance. This helps, in the long run, to improve the situation as they are well-equipped to flag such instances to parents with the intention of co-constructing a plan for improving the behaviour.
, counselling manager, Athena Education
As told to Nafisa Khatoon