Whether we are a child, teenager, adult, or old person, we cannot truly understand what a person is feeling at all times. We cannot say who is supposed to feel what is the right thing to feel about something. Because it is related to our emotions, experience, traumatic events, and personal values in life, there is not much advice that could be given.
But when it comes to mental health problems, which is a prolonged effect of feeling in a similar way due to chemical changes in our brain, we should be extremely careful and aware.
Understanding Mental Health Of Children
Children show various signs while going through a hard time. Sometimes they become extremely quiet about their issues, not sharing with anyone since they felt their problems were too little, over-exaggerated, or did not need much attention. Some students don’t discuss their problems simply because they would not like to share and be vulnerable, with the fear that people might use it against them.
Here are some common signs to recognize whether your student is going through a difficult time, at home, or in an online class;
- Students don’t interact frequently.
- They have a withdrawn manner in a classroom, not participating in discussions, social events, and class programs.
- Constant mood fluctuations, from being calm to angry and explosive, or distressed.
- Sensitive about certain topics.
- Does not show the same amount of interest towards studying, extracurricular activities, hobbies come on and family.
Emotional First Aid Model
Teachers are taught basic first aid methods to be extra careful in a classroom. Although this is not very relevant in an online class, with hybrid education systems making their way back into the schools, you have to now pay a lot of attention to supporting your students emotionally too.
They have gone through a lot of challenges. Since we all are fairly new to adapting to a digital platform permanently we are making every effort to ease into the process. This is where you need emotional first aid. Guy Winch, a clinical psychologist, had first coined the term. In his explanation, he mentions how every household has certain precautionary measures to treat physical injuries, but not for the psychological ones. It is perhaps more important to have psychological remedies because these tend to influence us in our everyday life.
You can follow the self-care strategies to provide more emotional first aid to your students;
- Encourage them to talk to someone, without boundaries for most of the part.
- Teach them to express their feelings in a simple manner, without putting biases or opinions in it.
- Ask them to write self-motivational quotes for students which they can look up to later throughout the day and recall the positive note that they had started on while maintaining it.
- Encourage creative activities, and break from anything that has been constantly bothering them or has been overburdening.
- Stress the importance of spending more time in nature, or connecting with oneself, anything that initiates the calmness externally so that it can be allowed them to be at peace mentally too.
Bullying: How It Affects Mental Health
Although bullying is not the sole cause of deteriorated mental health in students, it is very much a part of student life. We all understand it’s harmful if it’s coming but sometimes students are still subjected to it. Online class is necessary for our everyday life. As the popularity of the Internet increased, cyberbullying became an issue.
Besides imposing heavy fines and acts of punishment on students who bully others, there should be a counselor or therapist available at school, for offline or online sessions, to provide mental health support or emotional first aid to students in times of need.
Your child is not problematic, this simply needs your help to understand, go through and solve the complicated feelings. As a teacher, you have to be a role model not only in terms of academic background but also personality and coping properties. Invest in them, get in touch with them and apply all necessary methods to support them emotionally. You get to see their grades rise once they are in a good place with their emotions and thoughts!