2021 came with great hopes. As a race, we were hoping for things to get better and life to achieve normalcy this year. However, with the second wave of the coronavirus gripping most parts of the country, COVID 19 is very much a reality. It is an understatement to say, the global pandemic affected the mental health of pretty much everyone. Among the group that dealt with most mental health issues is the student body.
Why do students struggle with mental health issues?
A November 2020 study conducted by Californian ed-tech company Chegg showed 56% of undergraduate students were struggling with mental well-being due to COVID 19. The survey included 21 countries, including Australia, India, and the US. In Australia, the US, and the UK, the stats reach 67%, 75%, and 70%, respectively.
These numbers bring up concerns regarding student health and well-being. However, the only way to find an effective solution is to find the reasons for this ever-growing problem among students. As per this Psychology Today article, mental health in students can be a problem due to reasons including
- A failing education system,
- Information overload,
- Drastic transition from school to universities,
- Financial pressures,
- Academic pressures,
- Lack of awareness, outlets for stress, and communication,
- Coddling from family and teachers, and many more.
How learning about mental health can help
When it comes to dealing with mental health issues, simply developing emotional intelligence won’t do the job. Time plays an important role as well. This is why early intervention is critical to prevent the long-term and profound effects of mental health issues. Students, especially, need adequate awareness about mental health issues and how to cope with them. Given below are some ways how mental well-being lessons can help students.
1. Improved academics
One of the first positive effects of learning about mental well-being is improvement in academics. When the woes of the mind are being dealt with healthily, students can better focus on their studies and work towards a fruitful academic career. This will improve not only their grades but also their level of understanding of the concepts taught in school.
2. A happier human
This one’s fairly obvious. Depression and other mental health issues are often cobwebs in our minds that drastically affect our mood. When students take up mental well-being lessons in their schools and universities, they evolve and develop into happier human beings. Learning the necessary skills like emotional intelligence at the developmental stages can turn them into happy and healthy human beings.
3. Better interpersonal relationships
When you master emotional intelligence and well-being, you can treat and understand people better. Students who take up well-being courses can experience this improvement in their developmental stages, allowing them to have better interpersonal relationships.
4. Healthier boundaries
One of the biggest reasons adults find themselves unhappy with their life, work, or relationships is a lack of boundaries. Boundaries here refer to the ones between two people, work and life, and within oneself. When you know the right time to say ‘yes’ and ‘no’ to things, offers, and yourself, you lead a better life. This is a quality that every student needs to develop to avoid getting into messes they would rather avoid.
5. Enhanced stress management
Education boards across the world focus on academics a lot more than soft skills and life skills. Learning to manage stress and problems are treated as something intuitive that people learn with experience. However, the truth is, students, more than anyone else, need stress management courses that teach them techniques to clear their minds when facing problems.
6. Better communication
Communication is key to a healthy human being and relationships. A lack of open communication can result in people missing the signs of behavioral disorders in children and students. With mental well-being classes, students, as well as parents, can communicate better. Students, especially, can form open communication as they transition into adult life.
7. Increased productivity
Productivity is always an issue when your mind is not in the right space. Students struggling with mental health issues often find themselves unable to perform academically at their peak level due to a lack of motivation. Mental well-being courses can help students center themselves and regain their lost productivity and even increase it.
8. Change in mindset
How we view, life is dependant on how we feel within. On days you feel ill inside, the entire day seems bleak, even the positive parts. Similarly, on our happy days, everything seems extra bright. For students, mindset can be the difference between achieving academic and personal goals and losing hope. Well-being workshops, therefore, can help them view the world differently, affecting their lives positively.
9. Better professionals
Lastly, mental well-being lessons teach students to be better professionals when they enter adulthood. Being a professional requires one to have healthy boundaries, a matured outlook in life, patience with others and self, efficient stress management, and much more. These are skills and traits that well-being workshops can help inculcate in students.
Ways to promote sound mental health in students
We have now established how important a role mental health and mental well-being lessons play in a student’s life. It is time to see how educational institutions and service providers can promote mental health among students and teachers alike.
1. Conduct well-being workshops
One of the best ways to promote mental health among students is through workshops and sessions. Schools and universities can attempt at conducting these regularly to keep their students motivated in their academic and personal pursuits. Tutoring firms can also adopt this for their students and even the tutors. This helps both sides of the learning process remain efficient and productive.
At TutorHere, we give more importance to mental well-being and regularly conduct workshops on the same, covering topics like self-love. These sessions not only help the internal team remain motivated but also the learners learn to be healthier mentally.
2. Promote clubs
Being part of the community is key to finding inner happiness. Club activities help forge communities through fun sessions and bonding between the members. Therefore, more schools and universities should have and promote lunch clubs that help students take their minds off of academic and personal pressures.
Being a community of curious learners, TutorHere occasionally has fun sessions for the internal team and the learner community that allows them to just unwind after a tough week and catch up with peers.
3. Be approachable
Students are more likely to work towards dealing with their mental health issues when they have someone they can talk to. Not every child can communicate with his/her parents effectively. This is where the faculty of educational institutions play a key role by being a person they can come up to and talk about their problems.
Being an organization that consists of students of the average age of 23 years, TutorHere always has an open-door policy where the internal team and learners can reach out to anyone for any help.
4. Increase social interaction
As mentioned earlier, social interaction is necessary for sound mental health. Therefore, a great way to inculcate emotional intelligence is to allow more social time. Schedule specific time in a week where students get to interact with one another and not worry about studies. When they communicate and solve problems together, they form a healthy social life.
One thing that TutorHere is absolutely proud of is the Circlespace, a private social media network for learners and the internal team. The platform allows everyone to share their thoughts and have fruitful discussions with one another.
5. Relaxing lounges
Sometimes all one needs is some quiet time to centre themselves and relax. Give students this option by providing them with a place where they can relax and lounge. This allows them time and space to unwind, contributing towards improved student health and the development of emotional intelligence.
6. Offer outlets for stress
The Chegg study showed a whopping 81% of students finding an increase in their stress and anxiety levels during the COVID 19 period. However, even without a global pandemic straining our well-being, stress and anxiety have always been factors that affected student health greatly. Therefore, it is important to give different outlets for stress in students like music and dance therapy and art sessions.
At TutorHere, we regularly conduct art workshops to build the creative side of our internal team and to give them an outlet for artistic expression. This keeps them motivated and going on tough days.
7. Inculcate necessary skills
The best way a teacher or an educational institution can promote mental health among students is by teaching and providing them with the necessary skills and tools. Yes, it is possible to learn how to cope with stress and mental health problems through workshops, sessions, and one-on-one guidance. It is during such classes that students get the right tools they can use to lead a better life.
8. Promote physical wellness
Physical and mental health are closely related and mutually inclusive. Therefore, one of the best ways to promote mental health in schools is through physical wellness workshops. Activities like yoga and meditation, especially, help reduce stress levels in students, allowing them to have a better mind space.
At TutorHere, we conduct weekly yoga sessions for the team and learners associated with us. This not only has helped forge better relationships within our team but also with the learners.
9. Provide a healthy environment
Lastly, educational institutions need to offer students an environment conducive to attaining and maintaining sound mental health. This means focusing on policies on student well-being. Doing so will encourage students to be more compassionate and open to one another.
Summing it up
The world has been grappling with mental health crises since the pandemic hit us. Students were among the most affected during this period. Therefore, educational institutions, teachers, and parents must work towards increasing awareness about mental health and well-being. They must focus on inculcating emotional intelligence through activities that promote sound mental health in students.