Student Mental Health This Back-to-School Season
Mental health can play a significant role in students’ learning. School can be a major source of student stress, and the pandemic added to this stress and caused a spike in student mental health struggles. Although It’s not just COVID, there has been an increase in anxiety and mental health issues isn’t a result of the pandemic. The number of students struggling with mental health has been rising yearly.
Students’ mental health can affect their ability to be present and retain information. For parents concerned about how their students are handling the new school year, here are five suggestions on how you can monitor your child’s mental health:
Taking care of mental health is as important as taking care of physical health.
Practising self-care daily can help students become aware of their mental health and help them verbalize if they feel unwell or need support. Allowing your children to know that it’s okay to practise self-care and take the time they need for themselves is good for them and something they should be doing for their own mental health. Learn how to practise self-care here.
Have an open dialogue with your child. Asking questions is the best way to understand how they’re doing. Asking them about the good, the bad, and the ugly will help you to understand how they are feeling and if there are things that you can help to change or fix.
Not all children will be open right away. It’s something that you as a parent need to work on with your child. Having that open dialogue with one another is something you’ll constantly need to work on, but it is one of the best ways to ensure your child isn’t suffering alone. Here are some school-related questions that you can start with!
Keep Eyes Open
Look for changing behaviours in your child. This is a little more difficult than the other suggestions and is often the most overlooked. Keeping an eye out for changing behaviours or habits can often lead to catching things before they escalate.
Changes in sleep patterns, increased irritability, weight gain, or hunger changes are a few examples of things that may indicate an underlying problem. A further red flag is being irritated in class or with teachers. Keep your eyes open for any changes.
Get Enough Sleep
Sleep hours per night are tied to not only feeling mentally well but also to academic success!
Getting enough sleep with specific bedtimes and morning routines can help students feel alert and more productive when learning. Sleep is critical to not only our physical health but also our mental health. Although both sleep and mental health are complicated issues influenced by a wide range of factors, there is compelling evidence that getting better sleep may positively affect mental health.
How much sleep should your child be getting?
- 3–5 years – 10–13 hours
- 6–12 years – 9–12 hours
- 13–18 years – 8–10 hours
- 18–60 years – 7 plus hours
Everybody encounters stress, including yourself. However, it’s how frequent and severe stress can wear on your body or your child’s body which makes it difficult for them to perform academically.
Stress is a feeling of being under abnormal pressure from an increased workload at school, an argument with a family member, or a teacher. Knowing how to manage stress efficiently will help students to manage their mental health and keep a healthy balance between school and play.
Stress levels can affect student wellness. Here are three ways to help alleviate stress.
- Exercise: When students exercise their bodies, they exercise their minds.
- Nutrition: Nutrition plays a significant role in how students learn and how they feel.
- Routines: simple routines can help students reduce stress and maintain good mental health.
Oxford Learning Can Help to Reduce Stress
Learn how to effectively manage stress while balancing school workload with Oxford Learning. Find a centre near you.
If your child needs support for coping with mental health, please contact a GP in your area.