The recent suicide of a college student in Mumbai has forced parents, teachers, education institutions and governments to increase focus on ensuring mental well-being of an individual from early childhood. If the recent World Happiness Report 2017, statistics are anything to go by - India needs to take steps to address mental well-being related issues including stress and depression.
Monitor behavioral changes
Stress is qualitative and teachers should be used to map student behavior. They are trained to interact and observe students’ behavior on a day-to-day basis. If they notice a behavior change in the student that is unreasonable, the teacher discusses it with the class co-ordinator and counselor.
Incorporate creativity in learning
The lesson plans need to be interactive and engaging. The assignments have to be crafted to ensure they relate to real-life instances and project based. Project work should be designed to ensure it promotes creative thinking among students.
Involve family in the education process
Involvement of the family members as the stake holders in the education process is again an important factor that contributes to improving the self-esteem of students. This should be an ongoing activity as it is important to update parents on societal changes and also take parent feedback on programmes for child development. Regular workshops should be held for parents where they are taught about how to deal with growing teenagers and be sensitized on gender bias and inculcate the habit of respecting the other gender.
Encourage outdoor activity
There is a need to encourage children to play a sport of their choice. This keeps their mind and body healthy. They learn the skills of sportsmanship which makes them mentally strong. Fitness is key in today’s fast paced life and if one is physically healthy, achieving mental fitness becomes easier.
(This article is by Rajeev Katyal, Country Director - India at Global Indian International School)