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Mental health care in schools: Can’t delay

According to UNICEF’s announcement, up to 29% of young people in Vietnam have mental health problems. According to statistics of the Ministry of Education and Training, about 50% of adolescents have mental health problems; depression, anxiety, mental disorders increased 3-5 times compared to normal …

The remarkable numbers show the seriousness of the lack of attention paid to school mental health care and this needs to be done now, not delayed.

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Stress and depression in school age have many causes, but after the COVID-19 pandemic is the time of resonance that makes “the last drop of water”. Isolation, prolonged online learning, limited communication, psychological stress in the family such as parental discord, economic deprivation, academic overload or stress in the face of exams, make many Every day students go to school is still full of pressure, may even fall into a state of stress and depression.

When students return to face-to-face school after a very long time of online learning, skills, emotions, and relationships take time for them to recover and get up to speed again.

According to school psychologist Tran Thi Manh Linh, family is the most important factor to help children overcome the psychological crisis, avoid depression, school stress, limit the harmful effects on children. unnecessary consequences.

But when parents care about their children, they need to pay attention properly: “We should use the word ‘hope’ with students rather than ‘expectation’, because the higher the expectation when it is not met, the higher the disappointment. This will make it difficult for the children themselves. So we should still hope, but hope in the aspect of moderation so that the children can with their own capacity, a little effort can do. hope for the near future”.

Currently, mental health services for children are provided through social welfare and protection centers, psychiatric hospitals and psychological counseling rooms in schools. However, the quality and coverage of these services are still limited. As a result, many children do not receive the support they need.

According to Assoc. Prof. Dr. Tran Thanh Nam, Dean of the Faculty of Educational Sciences, University of Education, Vietnam National University, Hanoi, in schools, there is a counseling room for school psychology, but it is difficult because there is no school. payroll and very difficult to recruit this position.

Most of the counselors are part-time, who do the consulting work, but do not give them the confidence to express and trust. As for the national mental health services, the mental hospitals are not enough resources to meet the needs of the community, while we have many stigmas against this service, which makes the children vulnerable. Mental health doesn’t want to turn to help.

Therefore, Associate Professor Dr. Tran Thanh Nam said that it is necessary to decentralize the mental health care system for children based on scientific evidence: “The world offers this system on a tiered, step-by-step basis. For example, for those of you with slight signs of standard deviation, at risk of being uncomfortable, there will be an educational psychological counseling program. For those of you with symptoms of anxiety In addition to the psychological counseling program, there must be a program to practice skills such as emotion control and problem solving skills.

For those with higher symptoms, anxiety, severe depression, intervention with drugs or hospitalization. If we have such a tiered mental health care system for the community, then at level 0, level 1, in mild groups, the school will only help those groups, and in moderate and severe cases. severe level, we will have other forms of support for the children.”

In the process of building a happy school, one of the very important factors is taking care of the mental health of students, parents and other stakeholders in the school. But in order to build a Happy School, it is necessary to properly understand mental health and how to take care of mental health, and needs the consensus of forces inside and outside the education industry, led by educational administrators. .

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