Part of growing up in America is the necessity for education and the obligation to attend some type of school through the duration of one’s adolescence. The education system in America is comprised of a plethora of schools that each act as a microcosm of the community in which they serve. Cambridge International School explains “Schools today are not just classrooms, buildings, playgrounds, resources – digital and physical, students, parents, teachers, caretakers independent of each other, but a space where all these and more come together to interact and co-exist.” A school is like its own ecosystem (community of living organisms and nonliving components in an environment), because of the interactions between nonliving and living components. Not only do teachers play a fundamental role in a child’s academic achievement, but they often formatively contribute to their student’s social and emotional development.
Mental health refers to emotional, cognitive, and behavioral well-being. The World Health Organization (WHO) explains mental health as “a state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.” There are a variety of ways teachers can help their students cultivate healthy behavioral health habits and promote positive mental health, some of which include the following examples provided by Boston University:
- Teachers that express warmth, affection, and respect establish trusting relationships with their students. Clinical findings suggest children benefit socially, emotionally, and academically when teachers intentionally create close, trusting relationships.
- Teachers can organize a material-rich environment to stimulate social interactions among children. Research has shown that young people with social connections are generally healthier than those without.
- Teachers can promote a sense of empowerment to develop social and emotional literacy by providing structure, consistency, predictability, choices, and repeated positive experiences.
- Teachers can introduce various mindfulness and relaxation techniques, like meditation, to their students to develop deeper insight into themselves, enhance distress tolerance, and improve emotion regulation. Research has found that meditation can help lower blood pressure, reduce feelings of anxiety and depression, improve insomnia, and more.
- In an educational setting, students are consistently learning new things, and because humans are hard-wired to experience joy when experiencing novelty this allows for a sense of achievement that builds self-confidence, and enhances mental well-being.
As young people learn to navigate and interact with the world around them, they are simultaneously grappling with intense pressures, surging hormones, and are faced with countless lessons thrust upon them during adolescence. The support provided by educators throughout a child’s school-aged years can have a remarkable influence on the mental health of their students.
Further Information and Support
For most of us, life can be very stressful, leading us to feel emotionally charged, which can cause anxiety, panic attacks, depression, and getting stuck in a cycle of being burdened with negative thoughts. Navigating through the challenges and emotional turmoil of life can be overwhelming, but you do not have to go through it alone. Engage Treatment is a Joint Commission Accredited professional psychological practice. We specialize in treating children, teens, and young adults struggling with depression and anxiety through community-focused treatment plans that incorporate a carefully selected combination of therapeutic interventions. Our compassionate, multidisciplinary practitioners are devoted to providing the highest quality of care that helps ignite positive change and enables clients to reach optimal health and well-being. Please do not hesitate to reach out for guidance. We are happy to answer questions and provide you with any additional information. Feel free to call us at 805-497-0605 or email us at [email protected]. You are also welcomed to get in touch by filling out our contact form. We look forward to connecting and having the opportunity to discuss how we might best be able to support you.