Why is it important?
Promoting Mental Health Awareness in Schools – The World Health Organization estimates that close to 20%, or one in five students, are actively dealing with a mental health issue. In addition, suicide is the second leading cause of death for people aged 15-29. Mental health concerns especially in students have been on the rise ever since the COVID-19 pandemic. Students are needing more supports throughout the day to promote early intervention for mental health concerns. Hotlines such as 988 have been created for mental health crises but what can we do during the school day to promote mental health awareness?
What can we do?
Promoting Mental Health Awareness in Schools is vital to allow students to feel they belong and have the ability to be successful. Self-esteem and confidence should be a focus throughout the school day promoting resilience, positive decision making and responsibility. In addition, schools should provide healthy meal and snack options. At home, eating healthy can be expensive for some families. Allow schools to be a place where they can nourish their bodies with the foods they eat. Abraham Maslow created the Hierarchy of Needs which signifies that our vital needs are required to be met before we can progress into our other needs. Without our basic needs such as food, shelter, sleep, water, etc. we are not able to focus on our love and belonging, self-esteem and may never reach self-actualization (being the best we can be). Therefore, one of the most important aspects of mental health awareness is ensuring every student is having their basic needs met. In addition, clubs such as National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) can allow students to build a community where they can talk about mental health and discuss where they and their peers need support. They can put on events and fundraisers to raise awareness for mental health.
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