How to Support Student’s Mental Health During Coronavirus

Around the world, children are already back in school or are preparing to return soon. They’re facing many changes and challenges from their regular routine. Classroom settings and protective measures vary greatly from country to country. Here is a snapshot of what classrooms look like around the world:

Outdoor vs. indoor classes

Classrooms in Italy are taking advantage of the warm climate to hold classes outdoors, where chances of infection are lowered.

Installation of protective barriers and new cleaning measures

In Bangkok, children are surrounded by plastic screens and are wearing masks. Schools have also installed sinks outside classrooms for children to wash their hands.

Class size changes (few vs. many)

In New York, large empty spaces like theaters, convention centers and auditoriums are being considered as places where socially distanced learning can be held.

Remote learning vs. in-class learning

In the US, some schools in Florida are set to reopen fully, while some schools in California are offering remote learning. In Mexico, students will be learning at home through their television and radios and their textbooks were mailed to them.

Closure of classes/delay in school start

In Kenya, schools closed in March and according to George Magoha, the country’s education secretary, schools will stay closed and may not open again in January, when the new school year usually starts.

Self-administered coronavirus tests

In Neustrelitz, Germany, children have the option of administering coronavirus tests on themselves. If they test positive, they must quarantine at home for two weeks. If they test negative, they receive a green sticker and the freedom not to wear a mask.

The effect on children’s mental health

These changes to classrooms have increased children’s feelings of isolation and disruption in their lives.

Schools have the opportunity to monitor student’s mental health and the influence these changes to their routine have over them by using digital safety tools like web filtering and monitoring.

nMonitor sends real-time alerts when a student engages with content that signals early detection of sexual grooming, suicide attempts, self-harm, radicalization, and other potentially harmful online activity, helping schools be proactive about student safety online.

Netsweeper scans both online and offline content, such as chat messages, emails, and documents, content that was previously unavailable to schools for monitoring.

Further resources

It is also important to familiarize yourself with the warning signs of children suffering from mental health issues. Children who are facing difficult challenges will often have those difficulties manifest themselves in changes to their mood and behavior.

If you are a young person in need of support, call Kids Help Phone at 1 800 668 6868. In addition, the Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine has a collection of online resources including support groups, peer networks, helplines and more.