Here's how schools can contribute to good mental health of kids - Hindustan Times
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Here's how schools can contribute to good mental health of kids

ByZarafshan Shiraz, Delhi
Oct 14, 2022 07:47 PM IST

Most schools are encouraging and spreading awareness about mental health and are acting as a safe space for the kids to open up. As the school plays a major role in the development of the child, after the home environment, teachers and helpers should work in sync with the parents. Here's how

To work on the prevention of mental health issues in young children, it is important to raise awareness about the problem and schools are one of the best places to start mental health awareness. The schools play a vital role in overseeing the mental balance and well-being of the kids to ensure happy and healthy growth.

Here's how schools can contribute to good mental health of kids(RODNAE Productions)
Here's how schools can contribute to good mental health of kids(RODNAE Productions)

In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Dr Puja Kapoor, Paediatric Neurologist and Co-Founder of Continua Kids, shared, “The first signs of helping is identification of the concern. As toddlers and children have less verbal expressivity of the concern, most of the problems have to be picked up by the caretakers, teachers and parents. As the presentation of the mental concerns could be subtle in the initial days, any deviation from the child behaviour should be observed carefully. The teachers should be educated about the early signs and symptoms of the different mental concerns.”

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As the school plays a major role in the development of the child, after the home environment, teachers and helpers should work in sync with the parents where inclusion is the norm of today. Dr Puja Kapoor suggested, “Care should be taken to promote inclusivity rather than singling the child and highlighting the concerns. Teacher could make them sit in the front row, so as to keep an eye on the child. Also, a helper, or shadow teacher could be employed ,if the child needs special care to adjust in the class environment. There could be a sensory room or just a separate room with specialists to take care of the child if the situation becomes overwhelming at times. Teachers should be in sync with the parents and need to know the do’s and don’t’s with the child.”

According to Dr Dipti Reddy Nallu, Psychiatrist at Citizens Specialty Hospital in Hyderabad, teachers should help the students to understand that it is better to resolve the conflicts than keep thinking about them. She advised, “Students should be encouraged to eat healthy and stay fit. They should be taught how to relieve anxiety and stress. Physical activities such as playing sports and meditation helps relieve anxiety and stress. Besides having open communication with honesty and without being judgemental helps to open conversations with the students and know if they are in trouble.”

She added, “Students should be taught more about the importance of mental health by involving them in activities such as poster making or painting. Such mental health check-in ‘reminders’ really help. Also, as part of curriculum having a qualified psychologist in school as counsellor helps the students to open up as teachers might not have the time required to spend with troubled students.”

Asserting that a toddler’s mental health plays an integral role in their overall development, Kinjal Popat, COO and Co-Founder of R for Rabbit Baby Pvt Ltd, insisted, “Good mental well-being depends on children’s social, emotional, behavioural, cognitive, and communication skills. As toddlers spend most of their time at school, it is an ideal place to foster the concerns around the mental well-being of a toddler. Most schools are encouraging and spreading awareness about mental health and are acting as a safe space for the kids to open up. Inculcating a curriculum revolving around mental well-being has become a crucial part. Therefore, it is imperative for both the parents and teachers must come together to address the needs of the children’s mental well-being.”

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