The need to prioritize mental health education in schools

Life is a roller coaster ride and we are often delusional in the rigmarole of events that relate to our mental well-being. However, with societies decaying and environments deteriorating, why often do we not recognize beyond the physical afflictions? Covid-19 has successfully brought mental health into the limelight. But perhaps there is much more to understanding about mental health that society is so silent about.

Mental health begins with self-awareness. It is important to nurture the roots of self-awareness from adolescence itself. Unfortunately, our country’s system and policies only aim to integrate children into the education system and prepare them to work in appropriate jobs rather than providing a holistic approach to help them be the best versions of themselves and truly realize their potential.

While these should remain our primary focus, it is also time to look beyond these parameters and provide an inclusive education where there is an initiation into reflection to make adolescents understand their emotions, behaviors and feelings. experiences and their effect on mental health through a psychological lens.

Feeding a Better India

Our energies must be focused on understanding how our people can be nurtured holistically for a better India. Since the seed is often sown where the environment is conducive to growth, the foundation for this thought process was automatically identified as our education system. We realized that the system lacked self-awareness, happiness quotient, and lacked understanding of internal goals. The integration of mental health and emotional well-being allowed existing issues to be examined with a finer lens. To build initial prototypes, my team identified remote parts of South West Delhi, such as Chhawla Government Schools, where the population faces more social and development problems than in urbanized areas of Delhi.

The aim is to understand the multiple dimensions of adolescence before implementing the idea in a phased manner across Delhi/NCR so that we can provide schools with the best possible tools and environment to nurture students for a better India .

Another problem that must be solved immediately is that of psychiatrists. Unfortunately, they are overworked. With fewer hospitals for mental health care, despite new graduates fainting each year, the disparity between the number of professionals and new graduates is extremely large. As there is a lack of mental health awareness, the possibilities are much more restricted.

Encourage students to consult a psychologist

For the same reason, we are planning to decentralize the Institute of Human Behavior and Allied Sciences (IHBAS) Delhi to create different micro units across Delhi which would be able to meet the current needs of the state in a way better and more efficient. Besides that, we also need to address the discord between psychologists and psychiatrists. Both must realize that they are two sides of the same coin and must work in tandem to improve the current situation.

We are the first state to set the guidelines under the Mental Health Act of 2017 for the SMHA. The buildings proposed for construction are in fact halfway houses. The need of the hour is to develop an ecosystem. This includes providing a supportive atmosphere at a psychologist where students can be assured they are being heard.

If a school child tells of a trauma and if we don’t address the reason behind the trauma, then we are doing an injustice to the child as a condition. The current need is to train the whole system in a consistent way. Teachers are great listeners, but psychologists do much more than listen. Through their knowledge and training, they provide the healing that the child needs in time. We are on the verge of slowly losing our nation’s youth if we do not educate them about the mental health consequences of neglect.

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