Everything has been hankering after advancements, and educational institutions are trying to inculcate the best for students. All these mundane changes are slowly rupturing the mental health, especially of the students. In an age where they have to play and study, the only thing they are bound to do is study well. Learning new theorems, remaining updated, and having a top-level IQ, are sorted to be mandatory. Mental health awareness in educational institutions is yet to increase. Promoting mental health awareness in school is mandatory if society requires it to be led by mentally and physically abled youth.
Before launching the mental health awareness programs, understanding what factors do not promote mental literacy is important. The educational institutions must emphasize the importance of mental health awareness and how it can help the students. Research has shown that early detection of mental health issues can increase its treatments with necessary therapies. Mental health has been targeted with various forms of stereotypical notions and discrimination. However, it is only recently that various institutions are acknowledging its relevance.
Mental health awareness has only emerged recently after being through years of taboo and stigmatization. Understanding mental health awareness is very essential to ensure that no part of society falls back into pits of mental illness.
Let us begin with the basics of mental health awareness, by understanding the term in detail.
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What Is Mental Health Awareness?
Mental health has been stigmatized across various countries, till recently. A mentally healthy person is bound to be categorized as a disgrace or misfit for society. In a slang tone, they are referred to with words like ‘mad’, ‘mental, ‘foolish’, and ‘psycho’. Many also perceive deteriorated mental health as a sign of weakness, which eventually leads to isolation amongst those who suffer mentally. Unlike other prejudiced opinions such as racism, fascism, ageism, there have been no prejudiced beliefs to define stigmatization of mental illness. The research tries to define it as ‘psychophobia’ or prejudice towards mental illness .
However, various research and mental health awareness programs have worked successfully to reduce stigmatization. This, in consequence, gave birth to the concept of mental health awareness. Different fields have accepted the existence of mental health issues in a positive light. The first step to do so was to start from the educational bases. Schools across the world included topics and subjects that discussed mental health broadly.
They had also set up varied mental health awareness programs and initiatives to induce an optimistic approach to those who suffer from mental illnesses. For instance, the National Alliance on Mental Illness had set up presentations under the banner “In Our Own Voice”, in two public high schools in the USA. The presentations took approximately 4 to 8 weeks to impart and improve knowledge of mental health literacy .
The process for mental health awareness has still a long way to go. The educational institutions can only implement these mental health awareness programs after gaining full support. Apart from the students, the teachers and parents must also involve themselves in understanding what mental health awareness is. It should be understood that education covers a major part of an individual’s life. Schools and colleges become a focal point to talk about mental health awareness. Early exposure to the topic will help the students to detect if they are going through mental adversity at an early stage.
Statistics and research indicate an increase for mental health awareness programs. This has come due to lifestyle changes and other factors that indicate possibilities for mental illnesses. In the educational field, mental health awareness is essential to build the students mentally strong. It also teaches the parents, teachers and guardians to understand and assist the students.
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Experts’ Vision On Mental Health Awareness In Education
Experts hold the vision that mental health awareness is yet to be successful in schools and educational fields. According to the American Psychological Association, the gap is vast between mental health and its intervention in schools . Teachers believe that schools do require school psychologists to increase the students’ knowledge about mental aspects. However, there have also been witnesses of teachers who have low experience and knowledge of student psychology. This, as a result, makes it hard for the students to talk about what goes up in their heads.
The leading psychological entity, the National Alliance on Mental Illness  believes that the average to go through mental health difficulty is 14. It also reports that one in five of every individual lives with some kind of mental health issue. If left untreated, these mental issues can aggravate substance abuse and pessimistic behavioral patterns. Also, experts hold the opinion that an entire educational institution must include its faculty and the parents in mental health awareness programs.
Experts view mental health awareness as an integral part of the educational field. It is not only essential for the students but the entire groups involved in the educational sector. Mental health awareness ensures that the early signs of mental illnesses are identified and required help is given.
Importance Of Mental Health Awareness For Students
The importance of mental health awareness for students is very essential as it is the fundamentals of their future growth. Promoting mental health awareness in schools makes it easy and in many cases avoids the adversity of mental health issues in students. Inducing mental health awareness programs at school introduces the students to the term. At the needful age, they know what mental health is and other related concepts.
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The importance of mental health awareness for students can be further understood with the following points:
To Stabilize Self-Esteem
Students go through various days and experiences at school. In this process, their mental health does get affected. If you ask a student, they may terminate their days as ‘tiring’, ‘fatigued’, and ‘worrisome’. Addressing these feelings of the students is essential to keep their self-esteem on a positive scale. If the student’s self-esteem decreases, there are chances for an intense increase in inferiority complex. In such instances, mental health awareness plays an essential role to keep self-esteem up and in charge.
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To Nurture Overall Development
Mental health awareness plays a focal role in the formation of the students’ overall personalities. Exposing the students to mental health programs, helps them to understand their minds appropriately. As a result, it also helps them to focus on the bright side. This will eventually pull them towards trying new things and learning. Also, it will eliminate the fear of failure, which is very prominent in stopping an individual to shape their performance well.
To Keep Physical Health In Check
Students’ mental health directly has an impact on their physical health. Giving time and care to mental health awareness for the students will eventually accentuate their physical strength. It will keep them away from being lethargic. It will also help them to understand their body mechanisms with various mental health programs. Also, if the students’ have good physical strength, they would feel included in both curricular and co-curricular activities.
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To Prevent Ragging Or Bullying
Students who come from broken families or receive nurturing inadequately are easily prone to bully others. This will definitely go out of control if not tended with the mental health awareness concept. Bullying can also disturb the institutions’ environment and put other students in danger as well. By providing mental health awareness to the students, they would resort to their disturbing feelings appropriately. Instead of harming someone, they would seek necessary counseling.
Help In Juggling With Academic Stress
The importance of mental health awareness for students also helps in academic stress management. Loads of examinations, curriculum activities, and projects are bound to frustrate students. In such cases, mental awareness plays a very important role. The students will already try to understand their feelings. This will help them in controlling and managing it. Further, they would also be able to try the tips that they had learned from mental health awareness programs.
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Enables Fluent And Honest Communication
Mental health awareness enables students to communicate. At a tender and crucial age, there are possibilities for the students’ to be confused. An exposure to mental health programs will help them to know and open up about what they feel. Moreover, these programs can be a boon to teachers and parents too. It will give them an insight into what the students go through and how they can be helped.
Assists In Devising A Better Curriculum
Knowing about mental health awareness can harness the right strategy for educational institutions to devise curriculum. It will help them understand the needs and problems of the students. Based on this, the topics and subjects added to the curriculum would eventually be student-centric. Also, this would avoid any kind of academic burden that could pull down the morals of the students. It will give an educational framework that lives up to different students’ aptitudes.
To Create An Optimistic Learning Environment
School and other educational institutions remain part of an individual’s life for very long. Knowing mental health awareness will help these institutions to arrange an amicable environment for learning. Further, it will also encourage optimistic thoughts in the students. This optimism would further reflect in the students in their adulthood which will help them to make healthy decisions. It will also help the students to realize that whatever they go through can be solved and is not wrong.
To Promote Social Interaction And Understanding
Promoting mental health awareness in schools will eventually increase social interaction. It will let the students interact with each other and share their opinions too. It will also give them a sense of being heard. This will avoid the chances of emotion building up in the students. Lack of social interaction will push the students to feel withdrawn and lonely.
These are the points that emphasize the importance of mental health awareness for students. Careful understanding of mental health awareness can eliminate and treat mental health issues amongst students.
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Mental health awareness holds great importance in the educational field and for the students. The importance can be understood in 9 points:
- To stabilize self-esteem
- To nurture overall development
- To keep physical health in check
- To prevent ragging or bullying
- Help in juggling academic stress
- Enables fluent and honest communication
- Assists in devising a better curriculum
- To create an optimistic learning environment
- To promote social interaction and understanding
Mental health awareness for students is increasing with the passing days. An ambivalent track of changes in the world has led to changes in educational institutions too. In this scenario, understanding mental health has become crucial. Mental health literacy has been stigmatized for a long time now. It has been used and abused in the wrong perspective, particularly to degrade the other person. However, the stereotypes regarding mental health are slowly being kept aside. Instead, various fields have acknowledged it and are trying to promote the right mental health through mental health awareness programs.
An educational atmosphere and early mental health awareness will definitely promote good mental health amongst the students. It will aid them in knowing what they are feeling and how to come out of pessimistic thoughts. Further, mental health awareness statistics support mental health programs for students, parents, and teachers. The elders will find it easy to know what students go through during school. This will help them to be their support system and appreciate them to boost their confidence.
The importance of mental health awareness for students must be understood well. The educational authorities must take into consideration the diversity of students and their mentalities. This will result in better curriculum formation and promote the holistic development of the students. Mental health awareness holds a massive amount of relevance in students’ lives. It pushes them towards making themselves all good with every downfall that they experience. Mental health awareness acts as the sun after heavy heaps of storms.
- Why is mental health important in schools?
Schools are the basis of every student’s life. It includes their path of growing and learning more about themselves. It prepares them for the journey ahead. Mental health is a very strong element in school. Training in mental health will keep the students looking at the bright side of every trouble. It will inculcate the qualities of optimism, honesty, social integration, and vigor.
- Should mental health awareness be taught in schools?
Yes. Mental health must be taught in school. It is essential for the student’s development with optimism and the right attitude. The schools must make an effort to at least introduce the mental health topic to the students. The efforts should also be made to disseminate basic information such as causes, signs, and symptoms related to mental health and illnesses.
- What is meant by mental health awareness?
Mental health awareness refers to the knowledge imparted on mental health and its disorders. Mental health is essential to remove prejudices regarding mental health. Early and right knowledge about mental health and its issues can reduce the chances for bad aggravation. Also, mental health is also directly related to physical well-being. Therefore, mental awareness plays a very important role and it must be known. Workplaces and educational institutions should make an effective plan to educate about keeping a stable mental health.
 Pinfold, V., Stuart, H. E. A. T. H. E. R., Thornicroft, G. R. A. H. A. M., & Arboleda-Flórez, J. (2005). Working with young people: the impact of mental health awareness programmes in schools in the UK and Canada. World psychiatry, 4(suppl 1), 48-52.
 Salerno, J. P. (2016). Effectiveness of universal school‐based mental health awareness programs among youth in the United States: a systematic review. Journal of school health, 86(12), 922-931.
 Pinto-Foltz, M. D., Logsdon, M. C., & Myers, J. A. (2011). Feasibility, acceptability, and initial efficacy of a knowledge-contact program to reduce mental illness stigma and improve mental health literacy in adolescents. Social science & medicine, 72(12).
 Reinke, W. M., Stormont, M., Herman, K. C., Puri, R., & Goel, N. (2011). Supporting children’s mental health in schools: Teacher perceptions of needs, roles, and barriers. School Psychology Quarterly, 26(1), 1.
 Since this is an organization devoted to mental health, the facts are found in no research papers. Infographics and Facts Sheet.