Supporting Learners With Mental Health Needs
Learners spend more time with their teachers than almost any other adult, and in many circumstances, educators have more influence and spend more time with teenagers than their parents do. Given that students spend so much of their time at school, it seems to reason that educators should be on the lookout for indicators of mental health difficulties. Educators and administrators must be aware of mental health issues and be ready to intervene if necessary.
- Mental health problems are frequent and can arise at any age.
Mental health concerns, mood disorders, and emotional troubles are surprisingly frequent, and they might manifest earlier than you realize. Almost half of all students have a mental health issue that interferes with their learning or social engagement in the classroom at some point. Teens are not the only ones who are at risk of having mental health problems; these difficulties can show in childhood as well. High school and college instructors and administrators are not the only ones who must be prepared to assist students and families dealing with these difficulties; elementary and middle schools must also have a framework in place.
- There are warning indicators.
Although it would be unreasonable to expect educators to diagnose mental illness in the same way that psychologists or psychiatrists do, there are numerous early warning indicators of mental disease that educators may see in their students. Changes in behavior or appearance, rapid weight loss or gain, poor cleanliness, missing class, use of drugs or alcohol, social isolation, napping in class, and other symptoms indicate that something is amiss.
- There is treatment available and schools can assist.
Learners suffering from mental illness can expect to feel better and even make a full recovery with a treatment plan that often includes counseling, a strategy for an altered daily routine, and sometimes medication. Counselors may help schools provide assistance, have open discussions about mental health, develop learner support groups, open up and guide interactions with families, and more.
- Mental health difficulties can be accommodated in schools.
Schools can also accommodate and support students suffering from mental illnesses in a variety of ways in the classroom. Allowing for pauses, setting flexible deadlines, organizing group conversations, and allowing students to redo work are just a few of the ways instructors may help students battling with mental health avoid disruptions in their education.
With mental health concerns on the rise, school administrators and educators must be aware of the warning signs of mental illness and have a strategy in place to support students and their families. Educators, even if they are not professional psychologists, must acknowledge that as the adults who spend the most time with their students, they have a responsibility for their mental well-being. Recognizing this duty, having a plan in place, being aware of the warning signals, keeping the conversation open, and supporting learners as they navigate their mental health are all ways that schools and educators may assist students with mental health concerns.