The need for mental health awareness has risen dramatically in schools, worldwide, since the start of the Covid-19 Pandemic. School counsellors now more than ever need to educate and support their students as they navigate through some post-pandemic challenges.
As a result of the sudden change in the world around them, some students have understandably experienced a decline in social skills, communication, and resiliency skills. However, educators everywhere believe that returning to a regular lifestyle can make a positive impact on students as they return to their normal activities.
It is crucial for schools today to proactively embrace the emotional and social aspects of learning. Counsellors have a significant responsibility to support and reinforce mental well-being and ensure a positive learning environment for students. An individual’s mental health determines their ability to deal with life’s challenges, recognize their skills, learn and function effectively, and give back to their community.
The goal of school counsellors should be to work closely with each student so that their academic, post-secondary, and social/emotional needs are met. When students display strong emotional intelligence and mental health, they will be able to take on educational opportunities and realise the full potential of their abilities. Counsellors may help students by teaching them how to regulate their emotions, improve their organizational strategies, assist with conflict resolution and help students establish healthy relationships with their classmates. In addition to that, counsellors teach resilience strategies and empathy skills and encourage students to have a high level of self-awareness.
The need for this form of intervention is significant among new students joining the school. Through one-on-one meetings within the first three months, counsellors can monitor how they are settling in, socially and academically. Reaching out to parents for their feedback can help the school understand the student’s needs as well. Counsellors are also influential in creating awareness among students about cyber safety, social strategies and tools, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
“Students who receive positive mental support from their school and families tend to be eager to participate in school events and extracurricular activities. They tend to be more interested in their studies, are able to retain information better, and show healthy resiliency skills and interpersonal relationships”, shared the ASB School Counseling team.
Mental health education must begin in the early years to provide the best growth and development opportunities for students. Children make their first friendships at this age, while teenagers are developing their sense of self-worth, self-esteem and independence. Youths must overcome a variety of obstacles as they grow up, such as exclusion, bullying, conflict, and low self-esteem.
Schools must recognize these issues and give students the resources they need to handle them. Students’ mental health can be significantly improved with the help of mental health specialists, parents, and teachers; paving the way for a healthier and happier future.
“Happy students are much more likely to be successful in everything they do at a school. This applies to students from Pre-Kindergarten through to High School graduation.” Dave McMaster, Founding Director of ASB.
ASB counsellors are focused on ensuring that all of our students are feeling a sense of well-being and comfort in their learning environment. With 45 student nationalities represented at the American School of Bahrain, students from various backgrounds and countries are offered ample support as they adjust to their new culture and environment. The importance of mental health education in schools cannot be overstated since it has a beneficial effect on the lives of our children.