World Mental Health Day, on 10th October, is a day to help raise students' awareness of mental health. Why is Mental Health an important topic to promote in our school and at home?
Just like our physical health we all have mental health and being “mentally healthy” refers to something positive. If we are mentally healthy, we will be able to deal with stress and bounce back from adversity; we can build and maintain fulfilling relationships, balance work and play and develop self-confidence and a positive self-esteem.
When we are mentally healthy, we feel a deep sense of well-being and we have the flexibility to learn new skills and adapt to change, the ability to take risks and be more responsible for our lives. In the school setting these skills are critical to educational success.
At BIS Abu Dhabi we support the development of our students’ mental health by working with them to manage their emotions in a healthy way, face challenges, choose a healthy lifestyle, discover their strengths and connect with others confidently.
As a parent you also play a crucial role in enhancing your children’s mental health. Below are some tips for parents to foster resilience in children and identify any early mental health difficulties.
Talk to your child early and often
The ideal way to enhance engagement, is by increasing your child’s self-awareness and providing opportunities to have open conversations. Start doing this in early childhood and into their adolescence, and talk to them about their mood, interests, behavior, friends and challenges. Try to share your experiences with your children. They would appreciate to learn from what you went through in life.
Observe changes in behaviour
You may observe changes in your child’s behavior such as, sleep, changes in appetite, sadness, relationships with others, and social isolation. Any of these could be a sign of a anxiety and stress, which all could affect your child’s routine and academic performance.
If you notice behavioral changes, ask.
Asking is an easy way to start the conversation. But it needs to be done gently. No need to make a big deal of things like “you are acting differently”. Instead, ask open-ended questions like, “how are things going? What’s new? Has anything happened that has made you feel upset?" This approach encourages a story rather than yes or no response. Patience is really important as it might take more than one conversation to know what is going on.
Get In touch
It’s often beneficial to contact the teachers, Heads of Year, Form Tutors or the Counselling Team to see if they notice similar things or if they can help with what might be going on. If you have concerns about your child’s emotional or mental wellbeing, it may be useful to speak with the school counsellor.
BIS Abu Dhabi Counselling Team
If you have questions about the above, please speak to your child’s class teacher or you can contact the school counsellors at firstname.lastname@example.org