An article through NPR has combined some recent research on how schools can help to nurture students’ mental health rather than making it more difficult for adolescents. Here are some of the suggestions they had:
School-Based Mental Health Care: Pilot studies have shown that with full-time mental health professionals on staff in schools there is an increase in attendance and decrease in emotional incidences in schools, and stigma decreases school-wide.
Mental Health Screenings: Screenings are a quick and easy tool to assess for further mental health needs in adolescents.
Include Exercise in the School Day: Exercise has been shown to be great for mental health! The suggestion is to include at least an hour of time where kids can get out of their desks, and to make that time in gym more engaging and active.
Allow Kids to Sleep In: If you have a teenager this may be obvious, but they do not get enough sleep! Did you know the American Academy of Pediatrics actually suggests a later start time to better fit in with the sleep cycles of teenagers?
Build Mindfulness into the School Day: Mindfulness is about slowing down, breathing, and focusing, much like meditation or yoga.
Limit Technology: Limiting technology includes making tech-free spaces in schools and encouraging breaks from screens and phones.
and finally to Take Happiness Seriously.
You can read the entire article here: http://ww2.kqed.org/mindshift/2015/05/22/how-schools-can-help-nurture-students-mental-health/
What do you think about these initiatives? Have you seen positive steps from your school to nurture children with mental health? We would love to hear about it in the comments!