In today’s fast paced world of high competition and ruthless changes, excessive exposure to devices and social media, peer pressure and reduction of quality time with families is pushing young students towards mental health problems. It is a concern shared not only by the best IB schools but also across the nation.
While many young learners are experiencing stress, anxiety, depression and in extreme cases even committing suicides, the schools in India are taking a decisive turn towards addressing the emotional well being of their students and are conducting sessions, workshops and even incorporating mental health education in some ways into their curriculum. In fact, recently, the Niti Aayog also announced that it is making a comprehensive plan centering on the mental well-being of children at school, including online school admission processes to ease the burden on parents and students.
Also, studies support this need. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), one in seven 10-19-year-olds experiences a mental disorder worldwide. While these figures are concerning, innovative solutions and findings offer hope. When young learners are exposed to leisure physical activities in big or small ways, their mental health gets a huge boost, and also enhances their well-being.
According to the findings of a study by the prestigious Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports, even 30 minutes of weekly physical activity was associated with 17% lower odds of chronic stress symptoms. In addition, the odds of depression and anxiety symptoms were 32% lower.
Conventional students spend six hours a day in school as opposed to those who spend 24 hours in a boarding school environment. In both cases, schools can play a role in nurturing the students through mindfulness, yoga, sports, interaction and counselling activities to deal with their concerns and issues.
Some of the other activities which can be done by schools are:
Provide a supportive ecosystem: Provide a supportive ecosystem in CBSE schools in Delhi NCR: It’s important for young students to understand that they can unburden themselves and share any problem in an environment where they are not judged, scolded, mocked, or punished. Therefore, schools should foster a high element of trust by showing kindness, empathy, and a sense of inclusion. Encourage teachers to mentor children by encouraging them to have conversations, give their opinion and feedback, talk about their feelings, and find ways together to explore possible solutions. Also, schools can provide mental health literature, pamphlets, online resources, and articles. Besides this, the presence of a trained mental health care professional or a counsellor in CBSE schools in Delhi NCR is also critical to address any mental health issue.
Inclusion of mental health in academics: Including a comprehensive understanding of mental health and mental illness, identifying signs of mental health problems and how to seek support to discussion on substance abuse, managing stress, and seeking support for others, can be very beneficial for the young learners.
Sports and Yoga: The schools can educate students in not just mindfulness but also help them deal with unforeseen challenges, learn that success and failure are the two sides of the same coin, help each other and also understand that they are not alone. Schools should provide trained professionals and sessions to support yoga, meditation and stress busting workshops.
In these stressful times, it’s important for schools to also devise strict anti-bullying policies and find new ways to reduce academic stress on students. This can include a reduction of homework, inclusive language and behavior, having a proportionate student-staff ratio, emphasis on physical and recreational activities like setting up of clubs for arts, drama, environment, science clubs and encouraging fun physical activities like trampoline, zipline, and others. For parents seeking admission in Noida schools, taking preventive measures, identifying mental health problems, and addressing the same can help both students and the school foster a more healing and calmer environment.