Student wellbeing within schools is becoming an important issue to keep in mind within the classroom. Some students might show visible signs that they’re facing a crisis, but not everyone will make it obvious that they’re struggling. Teachers have a responsibility for the wellbeing of their students. With the majority of adults experiencing symptoms of a mental health disorder before the age of 24, it’s time to intervene and move students’ wellbeing to the top of the priority list.
Anxiety, depression and even suicide may strike any young person at any age, so it’s important to monitor students for any out-of-character language, behaviours, or mentions of harming themselves or others. Simple things to look out for could include: changes in appetite, changes in their appearance, decreased attendance or missed deadlines, trouble concentrating, emotional distress or crying, or if you get a feeling that something ‘isn’t right’.
Try and keep an open relationship with your students so they feel comfortable to talk to you, even if it isn’t school related. Poor wellbeing can have a significant and negative effect on a child’s academic progression – support, understanding and patience from teaching staff are some of the most important, simple things that can be done to ensure a student’s wellbeing.
If a student is showing emotional distress or failing to meet deadlines for homework, talk to them calmly and try to understand their personal situation. Work with them, either with one-to-one lessons, specialist support and gentle encouragement. Each student is different, so one method might not work for every scenario – work with the student to meet their needs and keep them as happy and productive in school as possible.
Additionally, it’s important that you don’t make promises to keep anything that they may tell you secret, as family members or medical professionals may need to be contacted if the child’s overall wellbeing becomes a concern.
If a student feels comfortable to share their problems with you, always maintain a non-judgemental, open and positive attitude to show that you understand and empathize with what they’re telling you. Don’t push them to express how they’re feeling if they’re not comfortable in sharing, but mention that specialist support is available if they need it. Simply listening and trying to support them will most likely increase the student’s trust so they may feel ready to share more with you at a later time.
There are a number of support services, helplines, websites and apps available 24/7 for students facing mental health difficulties and trouble with their wellbeing – suggest reaching out to these support lines, or their local GP, if they have any developing or worsening symptoms.
As a teacher, you could be their first point of contact, so it’s important that you’re available and prepared to take necessary action to keep the student on track not only with their academic progression but overall wellbeing and safety within the school.
Our student planners feature an eight-page Student Wellbeing section for students and teachers to support each pupil’s mental health. The interactive content helps to further bring wellbeing to the forefront of everyone’s minds while being accessible within your child’s planner. Please get in touch with Penstripe by emailing email@example.com or call our education team on 0113 231 0995 to learn how you can introduce in-planner student support to your school.