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The Progressive Teacher Vol 06 Issue 06

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  • Culture
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  • Health
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  • Mindfulness
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  • Wellbeing
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This issue of The Progressive Teacher focuses on "Mental Wellbeing". The feature articles by school leaders and teachers bring attention to the importance of developing a school culture that safeguards the mental health of students, teachers, parents and other stakeholders in these troubling times.

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mental healyh THE IMPORTANCE OF CULTIVATING Resilience and Courage in Children “Mental pain is less dramatic than physical pain, but it is more common and also harder to bear. The frequent attempt to conceal mental pain increases the burden: it is easier to say “My tooth is aching” than to say “My heart is broken.” – C.S. Lewis. By Fatimunnissa Asghar Fathima brings with her close to 17 years of experience in the education sector working extensively with children, teachers and parents in areas of life skills training, personal development and child behavior management. Her passions lies in conducting workshops on Personal safety, Body awareness, Human Sexuality, CSA awareness and has extensively worked with adolescents on responsible behaviors. A teacher trainer and a certified parent coach who now works with families to create a happy fulfilling environment at home and classroom. Believes that relationships are connected by soul and Interpersonal challenges are dealt with both the mind & the heart. She has also conducted training programs outside India and trained teachers and parents in the Middle East. She is a parent consultant and holds an international Parent coach training Mastery certification from ACPI, USA. With the prevalence of mental health issues in our society, it’s astounding that we still tend to stigmatize mental illness. Many mental health misconceptions still exist and we can’t deny that. It is estimated that the economic loss due to mental health would be around 1.03 trillion (of 2010 dollars) from 2012 – 2030. The mental health work force in India is also extremely low – there are 0.3 psychiatrists, 0.12 nurses, 0.07 psychologists and 0.07 social workers per 100,000 population(“Mental Health in India”, WHO). These figures are alarming. It is exacerbated by the fact that people in many cases are not even ready to acknowledge mental health issue. The patriarchy in India has taught people that “it’s not okay to not be okay”, and there is a constant pressure on people to act normal when they are actually experiencing a lot of stress and depression. Because mental health issues often begin during the school-age years, it’s becoming more and more apparent that mental health education needs to start at an early age. Because children spend so much of their daily life at school, it seems logical that mental health education should begin in schools. What is Mental health? Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices. Having good mental health helps you lead a relatively happy and healthy life. It helps you demonstrate resilience and the ability to cope in the face of life’s adversities. What is Holistic Development? Holistic Development is an approach ( that normally schools look at) to learning that emphasises the importance of the physical, emotional and psychological well-being of children. It is about focusing attention on the connectedness of a Child’s mind, body and spirit that helps adults embrace the real and authentic developmental opportunities regardless of children’s culture, socioeconomic background, gender or age. What is the role of mental health in holistic development of students? Considering the fact that it covers almost all facets of our being, it is pretty much the basis of our growth, sustenance and well - being. There is 26 THE PROGRESSIVE TEACHER www.progressiveteacher.in

no role of mental health in holistic development of students. Holistic development is the product of our mind, body, feelings and relationships. Period! Some facts about Mental health in India: Over the last five years, more than 40,000 students committed suicide in India. Last year, 8,492 students committed suicide. One student commits suicide every hour in India, and yet, we keep pretending like today’s teenagers are anything from fragile to obsessed about their looks -- each of these blame-games make diagnosis and treatment of teenage depression even more difficult* The National Mental Health Survey 2015-16 , conducted by the National Institute of Mental Health & Neurosciences (NIMHANS), Bengaluru, under the purview of the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, reveals that 9.8 million teenagers in the age group 13-17 years suffer depression and other mental health disorders and are “in need of active intervention. When it comes to countries, India is the most depressed country in the world, according to the World Health Organisation, followed by China and the USA. As educators we need to know, actually wake up to this very fact. One out of 4 teenagers in India suffers from depression and we don’t even realise it. Even after all the (alarming) figures and data emerging from research, there is very little focus on mental wellness, especially in schools. Recently, A 19-year-old IIT Madras student, depressed over low marks, commits suicide. www.progressiveteacher.in The student, a native of Kerala, was pursuing the integrated MA programme at the institute. Police are suspecting the student was depressed because of poor performance in examinations. They believe her low marks were the reason behind taking the dire step. It is also said a professors pressurised her into the act. No matter who we blame on the outside ( Marks/ professors), the fact remains that she couldn’t deal, cope and regulate her inner experiences. She was stuck in the negative moment and didn’t know how to get out of it. I always say if there’s anything we’re assured of in life besides death and taxes, it’s stress and pain.Why don’t we educate students to handle pain? Why don’t we talk to them about Joy, gratitude, restlessness or shame as a human experience? Following pressures from students, IIT - M has agreed to set up a committee of experts to study mental health of students and suggest ways to help them to combat pressures. What we fail to understand is that students who receive social - emotional support, in childhood, achieve better academically. There are three critical skills that develop in early childhood: paying attention and remembering information, shifting back and forth between tasks, and behaving appropriately with others. These abilities are known as executive functions and they are essential for more advanced tasks like planning, reasoning, problem solving, and positive social relationships. Something that all teachers work for! A renowned television actor Kushal Punjabi also committed suicide recently. It is talked about The National Mental Health Survey 2015-16 , conducted by the National Institute of Mental Health & Neurosciences (NIMHANS), Bengaluru, under the purview of the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, reveals that 9.8 million teenagers in the age group 13- 17 years suffer depression and other mental health disorders and are “in need of active intervention. When it comes to countries, India is the most depressed country in the world, according to the World Health Organisation, followed by China and the USA. THE PROGRESSIVE TEACHER 27

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