The outbreak of COVID-19 has come with an immense set of challenges, but none more so than the threat it poses to our mental health. Students, in particular, find themselves in a strange situation, with campuses closing down and lesser avenues for entertainment and recreation. Having to adjust to distance learning is yet another challenge, and all of these problems can combine to create a lot of stress.
However, student mental health isn’t just crucial in these circumstances. Schools are places that create economic and social growth. So, they must provide their students with a healthy, encouraging atmosphere where they can grow intellectually and mentally. Some students may not receive the encouragement and support they need at home, making the school the primary safe space. If you’re interested in learning how you can support your students better, keep reading below.
Crisis counseling is one of the most effective ways of boosting student mental health and letting them cope with traumatic events. Students can often suffer from various issues that can affect them profoundly in their personal and academic lives. A bad home atmosphere, death of a loved one, financial upheaval, or bullying are just a few of the traumatic situations that can affect students. Crisis intervention is an effective technique to help students treat stressful situations by developing a coping mechanism. It isn’t an alternative to therapy, but it can provide immediate solutions. They can help students cater to their basic needs in the immediate aftermath of the event and help them cope.
Crisis counseling is brief, ranging from a few weeks to less than three months, but it gives students the skills they need to cope with traumatic events. Crisis counselors also often call first responders, social services, or loved ones to help them get the support they need. Providing crisis counseling is thus an effective way of assisting students in dealing with a challenging situation.
Help students stay connected
A support system is all about staying connected to people who care about you and who can help you in any challenge. Students often find refuge in their friends. Through these social interactions, they learn how to respond to others’ emotions and express their feelings clearly. Without strong friendships, students can suffer from various emotional and mental health disturbances that affect their personal and academic life.
Ensuring positive interactions used to be much easier pre-COVID, but that isn’t the case now, with distance learning being the norm. However, there are ways in which educators can ensure that students stay connected to their peers.
An excellent way to keep students connected is by creating online study groups or online clubs and social activities. Schools can arrange extracurricular classes online, which can encourage students to participate in groups. Furthermore, having accountability partners is an excellent way of promoting connectedness while ensuring academic success.
Schedule regular check-ins
It’s essential for teachers not just to focus on their students’ educational prowess but also on their mental health. Emotional and behavioral disturbances can significantly impact students’ academic performance, making this a vital factor to consider. Scheduling regular, detailed check-ins is even more critical today, given the uncertain situation that most students are in. Simply asking students how they’re doing can help them relieve some stress. Furthermore, checking up is an excellent way for teachers to understand the students’ academic efforts better and identify why they might struggle.
With teachers aware of the challenges students may face, there can be less pressure on students to maintain appearances and push themselves harder than usual. Educational institutions can also hold check-ins with the entire class so that students get peer support too. Furthermore, this can help many students feel less alone in their struggles, as they see that everyone has something they need to deal with.
Empower families to facilitate mental health
While schools/colleges play a vital role in ensuring that students have a proper mental health support system, parents still play the most pivotal role. However, finding out that their child may be struggling with mental or emotional disturbances can be shocking for most parents. Many parents can be unaware of how to act in such a situation, and they can either go into denial or try their best to educate themselves. In such a scenario, educators must provide parents with all the resources to better understand their child’s situation. It’s also vital to reduce the stigma surrounding such problems to encourage the parents to seek help.
When creating a safe space for students, it’s essential to do the same for their parents. Parents can often find themselves overwhelmed by different recommendations and feel confused. In such a scenario, they need to trust educators and believe that they want their child’s best. With a trusting relationship in place, educators can refer parents to the best resources to help them get the help their child needs.
Promoting better mental health for students can go a long way in enhancing their learning outcomes and creating a better society. It can help students bond better with each other and create a safe space for each individual. Crises counseling, creating a support system that involves students, families, and educators and are vital to ensuring that students are mentally healthy. These tips can ensure that students are headed in the right direction to achieve their academic and professional goals.
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