After the outbreak of COVID-19, mental health has become a topic of the moment in education. Students of all ages, since the pandemic lockdowns, are struggling to go back to the previous “normality.” The constant pressure to “get back to normal” or to “catch up” as if nothing had ever happened is also compelling students with anxiety and other issues to stay away from education.
However, with our adulthood and life experience, managing our mental health can be challenging. Young people have not yet had the opportunity to acquire all the skills necessary to navigate and recover from extraordinary life situations that have changed everything for them.
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An Everyday Occurrence:
Rene Myers, an intervention specialist in St. Paul, Minn, found out that thousands of students are drifting away from education as they have been subjected to various kinds of traumas during the pandemic.
According to her, “As children’s mental health needs increase, so do instructors’ demands for assistance. You cannot educate if you don’t treat mental health, which is the current bottom line for student learning”. If students are to carry this notion forward in their lives, we must talk openly about mental health in the classroom to normalize it and reassure any young people who are struggling that they are not alone. And we are currently witnessing that.
In a recent survey on mental health conducted by Uwill and NASPA, 93% of college presidents from more than 130 institutions agreed that students now feel much more comfortable talking about their mental health than they did five years ago. This is a fundamental culture shift that will eventually benefit everyone, whether they are in the workplace or in education.
Technology has been a big part of these developments. It is not only helping to reduce mental health stigma, but it is also stepping up to coach, support, and connect young people with its many self-help applications.
Even though social involvement is a crucial element of well-being, social media frequently receives unfavorable criticism for valid reasons. However, it does have a benefit in that it may connect those who are hurting. Reading postings published by people from different walks of life who openly discuss their problems demonstrates to people that these problems are widespread and lessens any sense of isolation they may have.
Of course, depending on this help is not the best option. People could encounter disturbing or triggering material alongside the postings from which they are taking strength, making it a precarious balance. There is also the addition of “chasing likes.” People in the education industry should think about how to utilize social media as a coping technique in moderation because it has been demonstrated that doing so is harmful to a person’s mental health.
Online Ed-Tech platforms are also playing a significant role in helping students catch up in education. Students who lag behind and are also not willing to go to college due to anxiety and other issues can get expert assistance, textbook solutions, and free books and seek help in their studies anytime they want. This prevents students from getting depressed because of their difficulty in getting back to normal life.
Mental Health Apps:
There are several applications available to manage or take control of mental health and well-being, and we all enjoy using those apps. Having a go-to resource for assistance or using a favorite guided meditation that offers daily affirmations can help keep well-being on track.
There is no replacement for speaking with a mental health expert for individuals who are in distress. However, access is a serious issue in many regions of the world. You might someday be able to schedule an online video conference or a phone consultation in certain nations, but in others, even these options are few.
On campus, there is a high need for immediate mental health assistance. If they do not receive prompt assistance, students may struggle with a variety of challenges. They could be making their first move away from home. They could also be concerned about their home, finances, relationships, or jobs, or they might be feeling peer pressure or the strain of academic expectations. The situation can soon get out of hand, leaving kids feeling helpless or unable to cope.
Awareness and prompt assistance are two of the most important aspects of supporting student well-being in educational institutions, and many are now investing in programs like free mental health screenings, hiring professionals on-site, or using technology to enable instant access to assistance.