Maintaining Your Mental Health While in School
The need for mental health awareness is more pronounced than ever before so let’s talk about how we can help provide an environment that allows students to maintain their highest frame of mind. This is a team effort between students, faculty and parents, creating a system of support, understanding and action. Be sure to check out 5 Ways To Minimize Academic Stress where we discuss how to cut down on stress caused by school. While mental health awareness is an ongoing process that doesn’t get conquered overnight, there are things that we can do daily that will kick-start this process.
Tracking Students Feelings:
The most important thing about mental health awareness is knowledge and understanding. Knowing what is causing these issues and being able to pinpoint what students are dealing with from person to person will enable parents and staff to be able to help treat and support illnesses. Students can keep a journal with a mood tracker and list how they are feeling throughout each day and what caused such feelings, this will parents and their child can reflect on any patterns they find in the journal. It’s also a good idea to use this journal to enforce positive affirmations, gratitude, and strengths of the students. This will help students to see the positives that they are surrounded by every day. Be sure to keep this journal in a secure place and locked due to the sensitive materials that it will hold.
Keeping a log of what students are dealing with will also help to find the triggers that each student is dealing with. Once these triggers are discovered students will be able to distance themselves from anything or anybody that is causing mental strain or stress. Administrators may be able to help make adjustments in the classroom and around the school campus. Although they may not be able to cater to every student, knowing what is causing students stress is the first step to making changes. For example, if a student is feeling anxious about in assignment that contains materials that relate to a traumatic experience said student encountered, their teacher may be able to provide alternate reading materials for that student. If a student gets stressed in group settings, teachers may be able to pre-plan discussion groups and list them out for students, making them aware of when they can expect group assignments and mentally prepare.
Finding Your Ally:
Having an ally as a student is essential and it is vital that teacher, administrator, and parents allow themselves to be an ally and a trusted adult. Many students turn away from venting to adults for fear of being judged or exposed. Creating a safe space for students to express how they feel and what they are dealing with is how we start to make progress in mental health awareness. Teachers should consider adding a faculty member to each classroom that are there strictly for students to confide in about mental health issues or bullying that is going on in school. Parents and teachers should also take time to get to know one another on a first name basis and know each student’s needs past school work. If teachers or school counselors are aware of student’s needs, they can provide the best help when students are in need during school hours.
The Importance of Organization:
Organization is a major factor in helping to maintaining a healthy environment, if you are already dealing with stress, depression, anxiety or any issues that are burdening you, the last thing you need to worry about is clutter or disorganization. As a student, take time to plan out your day, know what assignments you have coming up and any homework assignments that are due. As a teacher be sure that your lesson plans are in order so that you are prepared to give students quality materials and as a parent check in your child to ensure they are on top of their work. Being organized cuts down on feeling pressured or rushed at times where you need relief from academic obligations. Students should try to stay well rested and take time to relax on weekends so that they can perform to their highest ability during the school week.
Using colors as a comfort is a great step that students and teachers can take every day. Figure out what colors make you or your child/student feel uplifted or positive and try to implement these colors as much as possible around the classroom, on your desk, and in lockers, etc. Being surrounded by colors will help improve everyone’s mood and can work as a form of self-expression for students. Another step staff can take is to provide extracurricular activities that support mental health such as yoga, poetry, writing, or meditation classes after school.
Mental health is a constant battle and if anyone is facing any form of mental stress, whether at home or school, remember that there are resources that can help. Although we are not a professional service and this isn't medical advice, you can find mental treatment with a free national 24-hour hotline at 1-866-992-2450 or visit Mental Healthline , they cover all mental issues, have top-rated facilities and multiple treatment options and take most major insurance providers—it's free and confidential.