With immense pressure from academic demands to social expectations, mental health has become a critical aspect of students' overall well-being today.
Parents and teachers play an especially important role in students' lives, and they can provide adolescents with the necessary tools to succeed not only in their education but also throughout life.
If you're an adult figure who knows a student who is struggling, this article will help you understand why good mental health is essential for adolescents, explore common issues they face, and guide you on effective strategies that can help foster positive emotional well-being in school.
What is Mental Health?
Mental health is the overall well-being of an individual's mind, which includes their emotional, psychological, and social state.
This means that our mental health has impact on how we think, feel, and act. It can determine how we interact with others, cope with stress, and make decisions.
The Importance Of Mental Health For Students
In recent years, mental health issues among students in Singapore have been on the rise.
These key statistics highlight the prevalence and severity of mental health challenges faced by students in Singapore:
These numbers underscore the importance of addressing mental health issues in students and providing appropriate support for their well-being.
Not only that, the impacts of positive mental health are often tangible, affecting academic performance, a child's social and emotional development, and their long-term well-being and success. Here's a breakdown of each impact:
Impact On Academic Performance
A strong correlation exists between positive mental health and better study progress in students. When students are mentally healthy, they have better memory, can concentrate well, and they engage more effectively with their studies.
Furthermore, positive mental health helps students develop essential skills such as problem-solving and decision-making. These skills not only contribute to academic success but also enable them to navigate various challenges that come their way throughout life.
Impact on Social And Emotional Development
Poor mental health can impede a student's social and emotional development—a core part of healthy relationships and nurtures self-confidence, empathy, and trust.
Social and emotional development also encompasses managing emotions, making responsible decisions, self- and social awareness, and even helping to protect students from mental illness.
It is therefore essential that parents and teachers prioritise students' mental health so our young ones can fully experience social and emotional growth.
Long-Term Overall Well-Being And Success
When students experience positive mental health, they have greater resilience in the face of challenges, better stress management skills, improved physical health, and a more positive outlook on life.
This translates into success that isn't only reliant on good grades but also includes greater tenacity and optimism in children.
Common Mental Health Issues Among Students
Here are 4 common mental health issues that students face today:
Many students experience exam stress, which can have a detrimental impact on their mental health. Exam stress often arises due to the pressure of performing well and achieving good grades. This type of stress can lead to anxiety, insomnia, fatigue, and even depression if left unchecked.
Students frequently struggle with anxiety disorders like social anxiety and specific phobias. These illnesses can be difficult, frequently causing them significant distress.
Because anxiety can impair focus, memory recall, and cognitive ability, it can have a profound negative effect on academic achievement. These problems might result in absenteeism and decreased participation in school activities, which worsens students' mental health issues.
A severe mental health problem that many students experience is depression. The signs of depression include persistent sadness, lack of energy and drive, trouble sleeping or concentrating, and loss of interest in activities that the person once enjoyed.
Studying, taking classes, socialising, and almost every other aspect of a student's life can be negatively impacted by depression. Depression has been connected to worse grades, missing deadlines, and skipping class. Additionally, depression might go undiagnosed or undetected, leaving students who suffer from it to struggle on their own.
The capacity of a student to concentrate and perform well in school can be substantially impacted by Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
Inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity are just a few of the signs that students with ADHD may display. Students who experience these symptoms may find it challenging to manage their time well, finish their tasks, and take part in class activities.
Additionally, comorbidities (coexisting diseases) like anxiety, depression, and oppositional defiant disorder can affect students with ADHD.
Strategies To Promote Good Mental Health Among Students
The Role of Parents and Families
Identifying Warning Signs and Symptoms
As parents and guardians, it is crucial for us to recognise the warning signs of our children's mental health issues, as it will enable us to offer support and guidance promptly. Some common signs to look for include changes in sleeping patterns, appetite, and behaviour, as well as social withdrawal and unexplained physical symptoms.
Offering Empathetic and Non-Judgmental Support
We should offer empathetic and non-judgmental support to our children as they express their emotions and share their struggles. By actively listening to their concerns and acknowledging their feelings, we create a safe space for them to open up.
Encouraging Healthy Habits and Coping Strategies
Promoting a healthy lifestyle plays a significant role in our children's mental well-being. We should encourage our children to:
These habits can contribute to better mental health and equip our children with the necessary coping strategies during difficult times.
Seeking Professional Support When Needed
Sometimes, despite our best efforts, our children may require additional support from mental health professionals. If we notice that their mental health is negatively impacting their daily functioning or academic performance, we should seek professional help. Early intervention can be crucial when it comes to our young ones.
The Role of Schools and Educators
Providing Training and Support for Teachers and Staff
To effectively support student mental health, it is crucial to provide adequate training for teachers and staff. This includes holding workshops or seminars on topics surrounding mental health conditions to help educators learn warning signs and effective intervention strategies.
Identifying and Supporting At-Risk Students
We must be vigilant in recognising signs of mental health challenges in at-risk students. By collaborating with mental health professionals, schools can ensure students receive the necessary interventions and assistance. Early identification and support can help students overcome barriers, enhancing both their academic success and personal well-being.
Advocating for Necessary Accommodations and Resources
Some students may need special accommodations for their mental health conditions. Educators should work closely with families, mental health professionals, and school authorities to develop individualised plans that consider students' unique needs.
By implementing these strategies, we can break down stigmas surrounding mental health, create an inclusive learning environment, and ensure every student has the opportunity to thrive and succeed in school.
Support Student Mental Health With a Trained Professional Today
Bring mentally healthy is crucial for students to achieve success in academics and life. Unfortunately, many students struggle with mental health issues including stress from exams, anxiety disorders, depression, and ADHD.
At Solace, we understand the importance of mental health, and our art therapy provides a safe, non-intimidating environment, and an evidence-based treatment to help adolescents with their mental health challenges.