Mental illness, particularly depression, is predicted to become one of the major health hazards soon. The World Health Organization (WHO) states that depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide, and over 300 million people of all ages suffer from depression.
Research shows that mental health issues in an individual begin from childhood. These issues take root early and grow with the child into his or her adulthood, and inflict damage that adversely affects the person’s ability to live to their full potential.
Unfortunately, the discussion around mental health is taboo even in this day-and-age whose genesis can be traced to the lack of discussion around the subject from an early age. Hence, it is important for educational institutions to address this topic early for the child to develop a natural understanding of the subject.
A Place to Start
Schools are where children begin to understand themselves in relationship with others through social behaviour. Any untoward incidents, such as conflicts, bullying, and social exclusion, at school, that go unaddressed by both teachers and parents, can lead to serious self-worth issues.
Many children feel that the current highly competitive atmosphere at all schools constantly makes them anxious, that ranges from mild symptoms to more severe forms, such as panic attacks. These can lead to depression, lack of performance, and increased risk of substance abuse.
Hence, we, at Vista School, one of the top CBSE schools in Hyderabad, know that a school is a place where these issues can be addressed in the right manner at the right time.
Catching it Early
News articles about students dying by suicide for failing in exams beg us to reconsider our current educational systems and the unnecessary pressure it puts on students.
The signs of such early struggles that students face within themselves become evident in a school setting. It is the duty of the teachers to not restrict themselves to bare academics but also observe and carefully address unusual behavioural patterns such as apathy, feelings of disconnection, nervousness, withdrawal, mood changes, and a drop in performance in their students.
This can reduce the severity of the illness, and it may even be possible to prevent or delay the development of a major mental illness.
Making Sense of the World
The children of each consecutive generation are exposed to more and more information about the world without being given the tools to make sense of all that knowledge. This is evident in how chaotic the world of social media is and the adverse influence it has on children by creating a warped sense of reality.
Vista School, a top CBSE school in Hyderabad, knows the importance of providing a safe space for students to open up about self-worth issues from unhealthy comparisons over social media, cyberbullying, infobesity, and so on.
It is also important for schools to make mental health education a part of the curriculum. This will include teaching about the importance of emotional well-being, removing the taboo around mental health and its related illness, and sensitizing students to individuals who suffer from such problems.
Schools must arm themselves with knowledge about the world and the problems it creates within individuals as educators are often the first line of defence for their students.