LCP Cecille Nunez
Mental health is equally important as physical health. Although we often can’t see it with our bare eyes, a mental health problem can cause serious damage to a person’s life and well-being. For us to work on mental health issues prevention, we need to raise awareness about these problems. Schools are definitely one of the places where mental health awareness needs to be at a high level.
Suicide is one of the leading causes of death ages 10-25 worldwide. In addition, most of the people who have committed suicide, have suffered from a mental illness. To lower the increasing suicide rate and prevent young people from taking their own lives away, we need to raise awareness about mental health in our schools.
Just like with any other disease or health problem, early interventions are important in mental health. Teachers need to learn about detecting the early signs of mental health issues, spotting the meaningful changes in behavior and acting at the first sign of a potential mental health problem. If the mental illness is in its early stage, there’s a chance of stopping it from being full blown.
Teachers have a unique relationship with young people and are often made aware of, when students are going through a tough time emotionally. Knowing how to support their own mental health and wellbeing, and that of their students’ is essential in providing a supportive learning environment.
Thus, our club, RC Pasay Metro Sunrise sponsored the webinar related to mental health awareness for the teachers of Tarlac National High School. The speakers talked on how to provide students with support, and here are the key messages discussed:
- Show you care and give them time and attention Often students don’t need anything more than someone who is willing to just be there for them. Having a trusted adult that they can talk to is an important protective factor.
- Be yourself and be prepared to listenand understand what is happening to the student.
- Be non-judgmental, patient, calm, and accepting. The student may be reluctant to talk about their problem because they don’t want to upset anyone, but they need to know they’re doing the right thing by talking to someone.
- Know how and when to go to others for helpEncourage the student to seek help themselves. They may feel supported if you offer to go with them when they speak with a school counselor.
- If you feel out of your depth, don’t try dealing with the situation alone.If you feel like the problem is serious or you have concerns for the student’s welfare you must report it to your principal. As mandatory reporters, teachers are required to report situations where they believe a young person is at risk of harm.
It is highly important to raise mental health awareness in schools since mental health issues seriously affect young people every day. They need a system they can rely on and a source of information to guide them through the process of dealing with their inner issues. Offering early identification and accessible mental health services to students at school, where they spend most of their waking hours, can promote long term positive health and academic outcomes and can save lives.