Adding Mental Health Education to Schools and Improving Well-being Support

Mental health is an essential component of a student’s overall well-being, and schools have a crucial role in promoting mental health awareness and education. In the Philippines, integrating mental health education into the school curriculum is becoming adaptive with regards to offering mental health services such counseling and organizations lead by the mental health practitioners in their institutions. This approach not only enhances students' understanding of mental health but also equips them with coping strategies to navigate life's challenges. In this article, you’ll be able to understand the importance of mental health education by normalizing this kind of topic and allowing it to have access to everyone in the school set-up. 

The Role of Schools in Mental Health

Schools are uniquely positioned to support mental health, creating environments where students feel safe, valued, and understood. Mentally healthy students are more likely to attend school regularly, engage and participate actively in school activities, build supportive relationships, and contribute positively to the school community. Every school should have a Counseling Unit as a fundamental right to care for students in need of help.

Understanding Mental Health Education

Mental health education involves teaching students about emotional well-being, mental health disorders, and effective coping strategies. Key topics include recognizing signs of mental illness, managing stress, regulating emotions, and practicing self-care. This education empowers students to understand their mental health and seek help when needed.

Promoting a Supportive Environment

Schools can foster mental health by creating safe and supportive environments. This includes offering counseling and mental health services, providing opportunities for physical activity, and incorporating stress management activities into the daily routine. Encouraging practices like mindfulness and self-reflection can also significantly benefit students’ mental health. 

Expanding Services for Professional Help

A well-structured mental health curriculum can bridge the gap between mental health professionals and students who lack access to necessary resources and knowledge. By facilitating mental health education sessions in the classroom, professionals can normalize discussions around mental health, helping students feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and concerns. This normalization is crucial in a culture where mental health issues may still carry stigma. To further support students, it is essential to expand services that provide professional help. This can include:

1. School-Based Mental Health Programs: Implementing comprehensive mental health programs within schools to offer continuous support.

2. Partnerships with Mental Health Organizations: Collaborating with mental health organizations to provide resources, training, and experts.

3. Accessible Counseling Services: Ensuring that every school has access to qualified counselors, psychologists, and psychiatrists who can address students' mental health needs.

4. Workshops and Seminars: Organizing workshops and seminars for students, teachers, and parents to raise awareness and understanding of mental health issues.

Incorporating mental health education into the Philippine school curriculum is not just beneficial; it is necessary. By educating students about mental health and providing them with the tools and resources they need, we can create a more supportive, understanding, and mentally healthy generation. Schools must continue to evolve and expand their services to ensure that all students have access to the professional help they need to thrive. If you are interested in upskilling and learning more about mental health in the school setting, feel free to reach out to us for workshops on Effective Management of Mental Health and Well-Being. These trainings aim to equip participants with essential knowledge, practical skills, and supportive resources to manage mental health effectively in various settings. These workshops are suitable for educators, teachers, students, and even parents!

References: 

  • MANDATING A MENTAL HEALTH CURRICULUM IN A POST-PANDEMIC WORLD. Power Mind Matters.  https://mpowerminds.com/blog/Mandating-a-mental-health-curriculum-in-a-post-pandemic-world 
  • School Based Mental Health. YouthGov. https://youth.gov/youth-topics/youth-mental-health/school-based

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