Often we do not appreciate something until it is gone. I think that is why sometimes we do not appreciate the importance of our health, until we get sick. A sense of general wellbeing and happiness is such an important part of life. At KGV, we acknowledge the month of May as Mental Health Awareness Week as we promote the importance of mental health for our students, staff and community.
Some facts about mental health include:
- Mental health conditions account for 16% of the global burden of disease and injury in people aged 10–19 years.
- Half of all mental health conditions start by 14 years of age but most cases are undetected and untreated.
- Globally, depression is one of the leading causes of illness and disability among adolescents.
- The consequences of not addressing adolescent mental health conditions extend to adulthood, impairing both physical and mental health and limiting opportunities to lead fulfilling lives as adults.
- Mental health promotion and prevention are key to helping adolescents thrive
(World Health Organisation- https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/adolescent-mental-health
Our school is committed to promoting wellbeing and we have invested significantly in our teaching, counselling and support staff to promote mental health and wellbeing. The most important first step for any school is to first acknowledge that mental health is an issue in our community and at any one time, a significant percentage of our young people will be suffering some type of mental health issue. The most frequent mental health issues for students at KGV School and around the world are anxiety, stress and depression.
The website Psychology Today lists the following strategies designed to improve individual mental health:
- Tell yourself something positive.
- Write down something you are grateful for
- Focus on one thing (in the moment)
- Eat a good meal.
- Open up to someone.
- Do something for someone else
- Take a break
- Go to bed on time
As educators and parents, we play a crucial role in promoting and supporting the wellbeing of ‘your child, our student’. I think some of the basic things can help, such as making sure our young people get adequate sleep, don’t have access to digital devices during sleep time, eat healthy food at regular times and participate in exercise and spend some time outdoors. These basic things, combined with some good old fashioned conversations, a hug, eye contact and a laugh, can do amazing things for our brain, health and happiness.
It is a fact that no matter what we do, at times we all can suffer from mental health issues. We would like to encourage our students, parents and community to seek help and not just hope and wait until it goes away. We should see mental health like any other health issue. We usually act, seek advice and professional help to get better as quickly as we can. At KGV School we will continue to promote and talk about wellbeing and mental health. I would like to thank the counselling staff and Student Development Office for the incredible and unrelenting support they provide our students and community.
Our students cannot achieve to their best academically unless they feel well, safe and have a sense of connection to the school and each other. We want our students to be their own remarkable in many ways – academically strong, empathetic, resilient, hard working, honest, courageous, happy and healthy. We all play a part in this goal and as the old saying goes – ‘it takes a whole village to raise a child’.
King George V