How To Help Students
As we’ve been discussing all week, teacher wellbeing isn’t the only main concern in education. Student mental health and wellbeing are fast becoming areas of even more concern. There are a number of different strategies available to help young people suffering with their mental health. Today we’re going to take a look at some tools and activities that you could use to try and help your students.
P.E. isn’t just a great at improving students’ physical health, if it’s done in the right way it can be a massive boost to their mental health too. Things like yoga and tai chi have been proven to improve mental health. Because of yoga’s focus on continuous breathing, it helps to centre and focus ones mind, and helps people to focus on the present moment.
Of course, not every school has a certified yogi or tai chi master, but a quick search online could reveal several instructors near you. Some of which will be happy to come into school, and some even specialise in yoga for mental health.
This technique is geared pretty much exclusively for primary age children. Quite simply, first thing in the morning they take their name badge from the wall and stick it to a one of the different faces. Each face represents a different emotion. Children that choose angry, sad or frightened receive extra support throughout the day. This technique has been proven to significantly improve children concentration throughout the day.
Mentally Healthy Schools have a wide variety of assembly plans available for free. Assemblies can be a fantastic forum to discuss mental health with students. They enable students to feel part of a community that supports mental health and wellbeing. Their ‘Spread A Little Kindness’ assembly resource is designed to help children understand that we all experience big or difficult feelings. It recognises the benefits of being kind to others as well as ourselves. Finally, it explains what ‘kind’ means and identifies things can do to spread kindness.
Finally, and most importantly – it’s imperative that you can spot a child suffering with their mental health. There are several risk factors that can impact a child’s wellbeing and mental health. These can include:
- Bullying or cyber-bullying
- Family breakdown
- Domestic violence
- Parental mental health
- Poverty and unemployment
Statistically, two children in every primary class will have a diagnosable mental health condition. This number rises to three or four at secondary age. While identifying each and every child suffering with mental health in your school isn’t going to be easy, by utilising the Feelings Face technique above, you should start to build a pattern of how children in your class are feeling. You could even use Mark Mate to keep a track of each student’s moods from day to day.
How does your school handle students’ mental health and wellbeing? Have you developed an interesting strategy that you think could be a benefit to others? If you have, we’d love to hear from you in the comments!