How can Mental Health impact a student's daily life and school?
Updated: Oct 26, 2021
I'm up on October 15, 2021 at 12:53am writing this blog. This topic came to me as I am up thinking about my life as a kid. And it's keeping me up today, so I know God has put it on my heart to write about this. There were some positives, but when I became a teen, I remember suffering A LOT with mental health issues. I didn't know what it was called at the time, but I do remember feeling hopeless, sad, unhappy, guarded, and withdrawn. As an adult, who has went to therapy and received some guidance, I learned that what I experienced as a child was mental health related.
In this blog, I want to discuss with you what is mental health, how to know if your student may be suffering with some form of mental illness, and how to help your student. Mental health is so essential to a student's life, future, academics, and overall well being, and it's definitely a topic that is not mentioned very often for our young students, and I believe if we "normalize" and understand it more, it can make a big overall impact for our youth. After all, here at LCB Tutoring I focus on the "Whole Child", not just "part" of the child.
Topic 1: So let's start and make sure we understand... What is mental health? Why is it so important?
Mental health is basically a person's overall well-being. We must protect and take care of our mental health, but in order to do this, we need to understand that we all have triggers that can cause a negative impact to our mental health whether that be negativity, certain friends/family, our own thoughts, and so much more. Oftentimes, our students don't realize this, and it's important as adults that we educate them on Mental health so they can begin focusing on it at a young age. Let's face it, we live in a pretty negative world full of changes and life long impact. Our young students are experiencing more now than ever before, especially due to COVID, so this is definitely a topic that should be discussed in all households.
On the contrary, Mental Illness is something that causes a negative impact or disrupts our overall well-being. It effects how you feel, your thoughts, how you interact, behave, and communicate with others. Oftentimes this can be related to triggers that I discussed above, and over time if mental illness goes unnoticed it can become more and more serious (and not in a healthy way.)
Topic 2: How do I know if my student is suffering with mental illness? What are ways at home that I can help protect their mental health?
My therapist said something to me about 2 weeks ago that I never realized and really stood out to me. She said, "Anytime we get angry, that is a way of masking some form of sadness underneath." I really thought about this..and I talk to my husband about this a lot. She is right! When I look back at all the MANY times in the past I became ANGRY about something, it internally all started because I became SAD! What are your thoughts on this?
Anyway... let me get back to the question above.
Here are some ways, as a parent you can know if your student is suffering from mental illness:
Student is sad consistently-2 or even more weeks
Student becomes withdrawn socially or does not want to interact with anyone
Student tries to hurt themselves in some way or talk about it
Student talks about death or committing suicide
Student has LOTS of outbursts and becomes extremely irritated
"Out of control" behavior, that in some cases, becomes harmful or dangerous
Severe mood changes
Changes in their eating habits
Loosing or gaining weight
Having trouble sleeping
Lots of stomachaches and headaches
Not able to concentrate or focus on anything, "scattered" (this DOESN'T always mean they have ADHD)
Academic performance changes drastically
Avoiding or missing school
On the contrary, you may not be able to relate to these signs with your student(s) at this moment. So now, I want to talk to you about how to help maintain your student's mental health.
Let me start by saying that as parents, some things with our children we have no control over and some things we do. I think as parents your gut instincts will let you know if what's going on with your student is a result of something going on in the home, or an outside source. Unfortunately, we cannot control much of what goes on when our students are off at school or out in the "real world," but we can control what goes on in our homes.
Here are some ways you can help your students keep their mental health in a good state:
Spread positivity in your home
Allow students to open up about their problems, feelings, and overall day
Ask students how they are feeling mentally and why
Be their "Cheerleader", students need a cheerleader and someone to uplift them now more than ever with the ever changing world we are in
Help them to develop a positive mindset and see the "good" even in a negative situation
Allow them to be open and comfortable with you, without being so critical and judgmental (I know this is hard right, because we are parents and we want the best for our students, but it's a practice we have to make.)
Give them choices
Encourage them to talk about what went well in their day
....and so much more!!
Topic 3: How can I help my student who is suffering from mental illness?
It can be hard to realize and see your student suffer from mental illness. You may remember, as a student, suffering from it..or you may even be experiencing it in your adulthood. I know I have experienced it SEVERELY both ways, so I can relate!
Let me assure you, there is hope and mental illness can and will get better when awareness and actions are taken!
Try to avoid telling people who are negative or unsupportive what is going on, because that is only going to make you feel worse
Privately talk to the student's teachers, your close friends, relatives, and caregivers to see if they noticed any changes (take notes and share this with your student's doctor)
Mental illness can be treated in 2 ways medically: 1. Therapy 2. Medication (Talk to your student's doctor on the options and steps to be taken on both of these.)
As a parent, you can educate yourself more on the illness (And the doctor should also have some brochures on this, and there's an abundant of resources on Google and Youtube about mental illness.)
Consider family counseling so everyone can benefit and it can help with the treatment process
Ask your student's mental health professional about ways you can support and help your student through it
There are lots of trainings out there for parents who have students with mental illness (LCB Tutoring sometimes offers FREE trainings on this as well.)
As a parent, explore stress management techniques to help you deal with it
Seek and find ways to relax and have fun with your student
Praise and be a "cheerleader" for your student's strengths
Work with your student's school to receive good support
In this blog, I just wanted to address 3 topics: Understanding Mental Health and Illness, How to know if you have a student suffering from Mental Illness, and how to help a student who is suffering from Mental Illness.
Here at LCB Tutoring, this is why I stress the importance of "The Whole Child" approach when it comes to academics. Sometimes our students may be struggling in school, not focusing, withdrawn or not motivated...not because they are lazy, have ADHD, or just don't want to..but it can be because they are suffering from Mental Illness. Most students do not know how to express this, so as adults, we have to know and watch our student's behaviors to help us know if there's a mental issue present. I hope you found this blog helpful! And feel free to email me with any questions, concerns, or comments on this topic.
Here are 2 questions you can answer below in the comments:
What are your thoughts on this blog?
What do you think are other positive or negative impacts a student's "Mental" state can have on academics and school?