Schooling years expose children to a variety of experiences that focus on holistic development. New experiences evoke emotions and feelings that can be overwhelming at times and children might need support to work through those effectively. This is where the need for mental health counsellors and clinical psychologists comes in. Instead of escaping or engaging in unhealthy coping mechanisms, mental health professionals help them to accept, process, and cope with those situations and emotions that are causing distress.
To effectively deal with mental health issues faced by students, Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) will appoint mental health counsellors. The corporation has 128 schools under the corporation and a group of five schools will be receiving the facilities in the upcoming academic sessions. The counsellor appointed from private academic firms will be available once a week. Such an initiative will be beneficial to manage stress due to academic pressure and other situations that students deal with. In addition, to reduce the burden on teachers, the corporation is also appointing sports and art teachers to focus on these subjects. Furthermore, administration work can be cumbersome for teachers and to manage it, the corporation plans to provide schools with data entry operators.
Need for Mental Health Professionals in Schools
The schooling years lay the foundation of an individual’s personality and how they perceive external situations that life puts them in. Both factors determine dominant thought patterns which in turn influence the quality of life. With a range of experiences, one goes through unfamiliar and new situations and might not always possess the necessary skills to cope with them. Behavioural and emotionally challenging circumstances teach children to deal with fear, underconfidence, and self-esteem issues and are essential for growth as it influences coping styles when they experience similar situations in future. Counsellors and psychologists help students to work through these experiences. Besides, many students with learning disabilities, separation anxiety, ADHD, or autism receive assistance and sessions which ensures optimal growth for them. Furthermore, the adolescent period or teenage years demand attention due to the risk of depression, bullying, cyber issues, and substance abuse.
The stress created by academic burden and competitive environment is another major challenge faced by students. The constant pressure to excel and get good grades robs children of the joy that the process of learning brings. Children in sports may need guidance and support to cope with academics, balancing sports and studies, and other pressures they face including performance anxiety, nervousness before a competition, excessive fear, uncertainty, lack of confidence, or self-esteem issues. In addition, personal stressors, family issues, or a lack of social support can potentially trigger emotional problems. Besides personal factors, aspects like empathy, compassion, teamwork, leadership, and providing support shape an individual’s ability to work with others efficiently. Thus, at all the stages of schooling years, the need for mental professionals to understand their struggles and handle behavioural and emotional challenges is a must.
How Mental health Professionals Contribute to Students’ Well Being
Counsellors facilitate the students’ development by providing help and assistance at various stages in the journey of schooling. They work to change maladaptive behaviours, teach students to cope with stressors, regulate emotions, form a goal-directed plan, build soft skills, and work through personal problems including family or peer issues. Programs like anti-bullying and career awareness programmes require interventions from counsellors. Active workshops, seminars, and programmes run by professionals can help with the process of disseminating information to prevent or reduce the occurrence of problems related to loneliness, substance use, body image or self-esteem issues, or bullying incidents.
They also work with parents and teachers to make them understand working with special children and about basic strategies to be used with children. Identifying the obstacles on students’ path, listening to their concerns, establishing goals, formulating strategies, and encouraging the child to bring these changes into practice provide room for them to know that they are not alone and school facilities are there to help them out. This can act as a motivator for them to openly discuss their problems and seek help on time. Mental health professionals nurture students to build skills and talents by directing them, their parents, and teachers on the right path to ensure the holistic development of the child.
The role of mental health professionals and how they contribute to the process of children’s development is indispensable. Having easy access to them is imperative to enhance overall development and not just mental health. Mental health is linked to all aspects of well-being which further signifies the need for counsellors in schools and colleges.