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Raising Mental Health Awareness in Schools: Strategies for Students, Teachers, and Parents

Updated: May 30, 2023


Mental Health Awareness

Mental health is integral to our overall well-being, and its importance cannot be overstated. Mental health struggles can impact how we think and act in our daily lives—maintaining good mental health is beneficial in achieving success and happiness. Schools can be vital when promoting mental health awareness. Creating supportive environments within educational settings for students, teachers, and parents can be immensely beneficial to improving mental health for all.

Let's explore strategies for raising mental health awareness in schools and the challenges students, teachers, and parents face regarding mental health.

Understanding the Mental Health Landscape in Alberta Schools


Adolescence is a sensitive time for mental health. Statistics Canada reports that a mental illness or disorder affects up to 20% of Canadian youth. In Alberta, the pressures of academic performance, social acceptance, and the transition toward adulthood can significantly impact a student's mental well-being.


Teachers and parents, on the other hand, teachers and parents can also face the challenge of identifying and addressing mental health issues while managing their own mental health. Addressing these challenges with a collaborative, community-wide approach to mental health awareness and support can be helpful.

Challenges faced by Students, Teachers, and Parents regarding Mental Health


Mental health challenges affect everyone; students, teachers, and parents are no exception. Students regularly face challenges that may affect their mental health, such as academic pressure, peer pressure, bullying, and social media impact. Teachers are also known to face significant challenges, such as workload, pressure to perform, and dealing with various students. Finally, parents face work-life balance, financial stress, and parenting pressure. These challenges can lead to symptoms of anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues.

Strategies for Students


Several steps can be considered to promote students' mental health. It can be beneficial to prioritize self-care that involves looking after their physical, emotional, and mental health needs. Some strategies that might help students to promote their mental health include:

  • Practicing mindfulness and meditation

  • Engaging in physical exercise regularly

  • Eating a healthy, balanced diet

  • Getting enough sleep

  • Building positive relationships with peers and family

  • Seeking support from trusted adults when needed

  • Avoiding drugs and alcohol

Strategies for Teachers


Teachers can also play a significant role in promoting mental health awareness among students and parents. They can also consider steps to promote their own mental health by prioritizing self-care and care for their physical, emotional, and mental health needs. Some strategies that teachers may find useful for advancing their mental health include:

  • Setting realistic goals and expectations

  • Prioritizing self-care activities, like mindfulness, nature walks, and volunteering their time helps strengthen the sense of community.

  • Creating a positive classroom environment

  • Seeking therapeutic support from a mental health professional when needed

  • Developing healthy coping mechanisms for stress

Strategies for Parents


Parents are equally vital when it comes to promoting their children's mental health. There are several steps that parents may find beneficial when trying to support their children's mental health and promote their own mental health. Some strategies that parents can use to promote their mental health include:

  • Prioritizing self-care activities

  • Building positive relationships with their children

  • Communicating openly with their children about mental health

  • Seeking support from mental health professionals and realizing therapy's role in creating a safe space for adults and children.

  • Being aware of their children's mental health needs and seeking help from mental health professionals when required.

Importance of Therapy and Other Related Initiatives

Therapy and other related initiatives are essential for promoting school mental health awareness. Therapy can provide students, teachers, and parents with the necessary tools to cope with mental health challenges. It can help students develop healthy coping mechanisms for stress and build resilience. It can also help teachers and parents manage stress and improve their mental health.

Moreover, parenting counselling can also prove extremely helpful for parents as this is a form of therapy that can help with any parenting-related concerns you might have, whether you're struggling with your mental health or feeling overwhelmed by your child's behaviour.

A therapist specializing in this area will be able to help you identify any issues that may be causing problems for your family. Your therapist will also be able to help you with strategies for solving them. They might also help with things like communication skills and other related issues that can arise between parents and children. Some of the goals of parenting counselling are to increase self-awareness and improve communication and conflict resolution skills.

Other related initiatives, such as mental health workshops, support groups, and community outreach programs, can also be beneficial. These initiatives can provide students, teachers, and parents with a safe space to discuss mental health issues and receive support from their peers and community.

Programs and Best Practices for Fostering Mental Well-being


Schools can implement several programs and best practices to foster mental well-being among students that can support the mental health needs of the entire school community. Some of these programs and best practices include:

  • Implementing mental health education in the curriculum.

  • Making mental health resources, such as counselling services, accessible to students and teachers.

  • Developing a mental health policy that addresses the mental health needs of the school community.

  • Creating a positive school climate that supports mental health.

  • Providing opportunities for physical exercise and mindfulness practices.

  • Supporting positive peer relationships and social connections.

  • Encouraging parents' involvement in their children's education and mental health.

  • Promoting healthy sleep habits and nutrition.

  • Addressing bullying and other negative behaviours that can impact mental health.


Incorporating these programs and best practices into schools can be helpful in creating a supportive environment that promotes mental well-being among students, teachers, and parents.

Conclusion


Raising mental health awareness in schools can be a practical step in the right direction toward promoting mental well-being among students, teachers, and parents. Moreover, creating a supportive environment within educational settings can benefit students, parents and teachers alike. Self-care, therapy, and other related initiatives can play a beneficial role in promoting mental health awareness and well-being. Implementing programs and best practices that foster mental well-being can help create a positive school climate that supports mental health. By prioritizing mental health in schools, we can help students, teachers, and parents build resilience and achieve success and happiness.

If you're looking for help in managing your mental health, parenting counselling, or experiencing symptoms of stress, anxiety or depression, working with a psychologist might be helpful for you. At Ward & Associates Psychological Services, we offer counselling in Sherwood Park. We specialize in individual counselling for adults, teens, and children and couples counselling and trauma counselling for first responders. We also offer online therapy for clients residing in Alberta. Contact us today to learn more about our services or to book an appointment.

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