Fostering Mental Well-Being in School

Teachers should adopt different skills to ensure their students’ learning and emotional well-being.



Our mental health influences how we feel, think and behave in everyday life. It also affects our ability to overcome challenges, build relationships, cope with stress, and recover from life’s setbacks and hardships. Well-being is the experience of health and happiness. It includes mental and physical health, physical and emotional safety, a feeling of belonging, sense of purpose, achievement, and success. To achieve such a level of wholesome well-being for the educator community and the student community, schools require a whole-school approach, bringing together the intra-school community along with the parents.

After the global pandemic, some learners returned to school having experienced some level of stress, anxiety, isolation, and grief. Some experienced increased violence at home. Teachers should adopt different skills to ensure their students’ learning and emotional well-being. Some of these skills may include – listening to students’ concerns, checking on the learners outside the preview of the classroom, watching out for warning signs of learner’s behavior, encouraging sports and interaction between students, modeling good coping behavior- calm, honest, caring, etc. Other than these, there are a few more strategies that the teachers can put to use to improve student’s mental well-being:

  1. a) As observed, students usually use negative words and phrases in front of their peer group and not in front of teachers, so, few psychology students can be appointed to monitor and encourage the students to use positive phrases, to make sure nobody is saying anything that might emotionally affect the other student. For this, the appointed students can be given basic first-aid training in mental health.
  2. b) They can be given a workshop on non-verbal communication and how its knowledge can improve their communication (verbal-nonverbal) skills from being insensitive to sensitive ones.
  3. c) Be non-judgmental, patient, calm, and accepting. The student may be reluctant to talk about their problem because they don’t want to upset anyone or out of fear of being judged, but they need to know that by talking to someone they are doing the right thing.

The most important reason to care about the well-being of teachers is that we, as leaders, have been trusted with the world’s most valuable resource – children. Stress is common among teachers and recent studies suggested that it’s getting worse. Stress in teachers’ life is related to workload, students’ behavior and expectations or personal growth, etc. To manage their well-being, teachers and schools can take various measures:

  1. a) teachers can remind themselves why they joined this profession in the first place and make changes in their teaching strategies and classroom environment accordingly so that they get that feeling of achieving something after teaching their students well.
  2. b) schools can provide opportunities for staff and educators to reconnect, heal and feel safe and supported by understanding the importance of mental health and proving self-care time before burnout.

carve out time for self-care to maintain your mental health: for some, it is exercise, for others, it is reading, journaling, meditation, or spending time doing a hobby. Some people are not sure about what they can do to make themselves happy, for them simply the act of doing something can improve their mental health.

Why is well-being important to students? It is essential because their well-being and academic excellence are intertwined. Schools should be more than just a place where students go to learn; they should also be a place where students’ well-being is prioritized, while still delivering excellent instruction and learning activities.

Schools can actually do a lot to help not just educators but students as well by taking some steps like:

  1. a) providing some basic mental health training: teachers can be provided with some basic mental health training without gaining a formal qualification.
  2. b) open door policy: a place where students can go and talk anytime.
  3. c) mindfulness sessions: meditation, stress-busting techniques, and creating a calming environment.
  4. d) mental health as part of the curriculum: stigma is still added to mental health and is still seen as a taboo, especially in schools. To overcome this mental health, be an integrated part of the curriculum whenever possible.

Teaching and fostering mental well-being a way to show our students and educators that we care about them and want to support them. To keep mental health in shape, a few introductions and changes to lifestyle practices may be required. These include – regular exercise, sleeping on a daily basis, prioritize rest, trying meditation, and learn coping skills for life challenges. Keeping in touch with loved ones and maintaining a positive outlook on life is another way of overcoming stress. Overall, it is and should be a collective effort, only then we can rise about the challenges and focus on the academic and co-curricular culture.

Author – Shilpa Atal, Psychology Teacher and Counsellor at The Mann School


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