A growing crisis of school shootings in the United States has brought discussions of the mental health of our country’s students to the forefront of our society.
Dr. John Rubio currently serves as the Superintendent of Emery Unified School District, a small district in the Bay Area that sits between San Francisco, Oakland and Berkeley. He has seen firsthand how students can suffer from mental health issues and how some schools could do much more to raise awareness and understanding of mental health to try and eliminate the stigma that is associated with anxiety, eating disorders, or various forms of depression.
To help further mental health education and awareness, Dr. John Rubio discusses five different ways schools can help students suffering from mental health issues.
1. Recognize the Power of Teamwork
When it comes to combating mental health issues, it takes a village, not an individual. Schools need to create an overall culture in which students and staff work together toward the common goal of looking out for those suffering from mental health disorders. Even getting parents and mentors involved are a great way to create a strong atmosphere that is comforting and welcoming to students, rather than judgmental or stressful.
2. Start the Discussion
You can’t address the issue of mental health in schools without first talking about it. Many believe that integrating mental health awareness into the curriculum of schools is a great way to increase the understanding of the signs of mental health issues and reduce the stigma that surrounds them.
3. Trickle-Down Effect
Having all-inclusive support throughout a school is a great way to create a culture that combats mental health issues. If everyone associated with a school, including teachers, assistants, lunch staff, and nurses, all feel as though they are supported and healthy themselves, those feelings should trickle down to the students they help educate and take care of.
4. Train Teachers
There is plenty of research that shows training staff in mental health can make them more confident in supporting their students with mental health issues. Requiring new teachers to be trained in mental health can help educators understand the risks their students face and the signs of mental health issues. Helping teachers recognize the signs of mental health issues through training is an excellent preventative measure that all schools should take.
5. Create a Safe Space
Students perform better in school when they feel safe and included. Schools that ensure bullying incidents are infrequent and handled properly can help give students the feeling of comfort and belonging they’re looking for. Creating an environment that fosters relationships between teachers and students, as well as one that makes students feel like they are being listened to and supported can certainly improve positive mental health in schools.
Be sure to visit our blog again soon to read more great education tips and advice from Dr. John Rubio.