7 Ways to Promote Mental Health Awareness in Schools
It’s mental health awareness week, and today is also World Mental Health Day. Each year, the World Health Organization chooses a new focus, and this year, it’s on suicide prevention. While web filtering is essential for safeguarding students and helping identify mental health issues early, we believe that it’s even more important to focus on helping students become resilient. In this blog post, we have put together a list of resources you can use to help promote mental health awareness in your school and create a positive mental health culture.
Why mental health awareness in schools is important
Every 40 seconds, someone loses their life to suicide.
For students, it’s one of the leading causes of death.
The news surrounding mental health and youth is alarming, and it’s only getting worse. According to Manny Figueiredo, the Director of Education from the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board, “bullying doesn’t happen in the isolation of the school and I keep reminding people bullying is becoming more complex especially with the digital world.” Small changes in behavior (such as being withdrawn or outraged after texting or using the internet) can be an indication of a much bigger problem (bullying). It’s important that we all become aware of the signs associated with mental illness, so we can provide support for those that need it. The earlier an issue is picked up, the better it is for the student.
What can I do to increase awareness?
It is essential that schools provide students with opportunities, resources, and support. We invite you to join us in educating and increasing awareness about mental illness by doing one of the following:
- Promote positive self-esteem
- Encourage students to eat healthy and provide healthy eating options
- Encourage students to engage in physical activity
- Promote school policies that support mental health such as bullying prevention
- Display relevant material to students and families, such as the materials found on the websites for the National Alliance on Mental Illness and the World Health Organization
- Have an open-door policy – communicate to your students that you are available to listen to their concerns and issues
- Provide places where students can relax, such as quiet areas and lounge chairs
For help recognizing some of the signs associated with mental illness, particularly suicide, download our Suicide Awareness and Prevention in Youth whitepaper today.