NCERT Issues Guidelines for The Early Detection of Mental Health Issues in Students
The NCERT has released guidelines for schools, including the establishment of a mental health advisory council, the implementation of a school-based mental health program, and the guidance of professional staff to ensure the mental well-being of children and the involvement of parents.
After conducting a study on students' mental health, the National Council for Educational Research and Training (NCERT) issued recommendations for the "Early detection and intervention for mental health problems in school-attending children and adolescents." Exams, results, and pressure from peers were named as important contributors to stress and anxiety levels among students in the survey report which was released the week before last.
In general, schools are places where a friendly and secure community of students may grow and flourish. The average time spent in schools by the school administration, principals, teachers, and other staff members, as well as students, is around one-third of a day, and the average time spent in schools annually is approximately 220 days.
The guidelines state that it is the school's duty to ensure the safety and well-being of all students.
A mental health advisory council is recommended to be established in every school or group of schools, as stated in the manual.
It is advised that the principal head the committee, which should also include parents, teachers, students, and alumni. It will increase awareness and plan and carry out a yearly school mental health program that is gender- and age-appropriate. "Schools should have the means to notice activities, substance use, self-harm, depression, and developmental difficulties, administer first aid, and make appropriate referrals," according to the report.
The NCERT has suggested that teachers, in addition to families and parents, should be trained about early warning signals because they, too, are the main caregivers. This is because half of all mental health illnesses manifest by the time an individual is 14 years old and three-quarters by the age of 25.
The educational community "must be trained to recognize the early warning signs of students' attachment problems, separation anxiety, school refusal, communication difficulties, anxiousness routines, depressed moods, conduct-related concerns, excessive online activity, and restlessness, intellectual disability, and learning disabilities," it was stated.
When it comes to bullying, teachers should address it head-on and offer children greater power by instructing them on ineffective strategies for dealing with bullies, as emphasized in the manual.