Qualified Teachers in Schools are the First Line of Defense!!
There are many misconceptions about mental health in our society. The most common being the ignorant belief that “Children don’t experience mental health problems. They are either moody or going through a stage.”
We need to understand that stigma related to mental health is induced by the society. It is considered as a taboo and the need of the hour is to question it. The first and foremost thing we must do is to accept the fact that mental illness is not alien in nature; instead it is very much similar to physical illness.
Mental Health – WHAT & WHY?
Mental health symbolises our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It not only affects our thinking process, feelings and day to day acts but also helps us determine how we handle stress, relate to others and make our choices. Be it childhood, adolescence or adulthood, mental health is important at every stage of our lives.
Positive mental health allows people to realize their full potential, increase their work productively and make meaningful contributions to their areas. Being mentally healthy is predominantly about the presence of positive characteristics such as a feeling of purpose, contentment and participating in life to the fullest. These attributes make mental health awareness an important subject.
Teachers – THE FIRST LINE OF DEFENSE
Mental health awareness has gained importance over the years. To be precise, it is one of the cardinal issues for all the Qualified Teachers in Schools, who often act as the first line of defense for their students due to the significant amount of time which a child spends with his/her teachers in the vicinity of a school. Music teachers are also doing their part good in bringing out the stress of children with their healing musical touch. There exists a consecrated student – teacher bond in which students, after their parents, admire their teachers the most, which again stresses on the role of a teacher to inspire, motivate, encourage and educate the young learners.
Role of a Teacher in Developing Mental Health
Schools lately have realised the importance of counsellors, who steers the students towards emotional and social development. Teachers equally shoulder the responsibility of well-being of the students. In other words, teachers play a significant role in not only building the careers but also assisting the students in their social development.
Limited but Salient Role
The school provides the platform to nurture the student-teacher bond by focusing on all-round development of the students. In order to get fruitful outcome, a teacher should take care of the following:
- Connect: It is important that teachers find the right connect with the students to develop and sustain the mutual trust. Connectedness plays a key role not only in driving academic outcomes but also in shaping positive mental health and social emotional competencies.
- Create Safe Environment: Another important area of attention is school/classroom environment. Our environment influences our behaviour and personality. A teacher should maintain a healthy and positive environment that will not only benefit the students but also positively impact the teachers.
- Be a Role model- Teachers affect student’s pro-social behaviours such as respect and empathy through acting as role models to students. Teachers should always thrive to set appropriate examples in front of the students that would not only motivate them but also help them be a better person each day.
- Say NO to bully– A small act possesses the power to affect the students positively or negatively.
- Observe– A lot can be understood by a student’s behavioural pattern as well as academic performance. Qualified Teachers in Schools should observe their students and their behavioural pattern. If they find anything unusual, it must be brought to the notice of the counsellor of the school as well as the parents.
Mental Health is Wealth Too
Although there are professional help to the students struggling with mental health, the role of the teachers is important even though it is limited. Remember, prevention is better than cure! Let’s be sensitive. Let’s make our world a better place for our children.