With the Australian school year gearing up again and the summer holidays behind us, our students are heading into the new year with so many large scale and concerning events that are probably stressing them out. With the enormity of 2019/2020 Australian bush fires, so little being done about climate change, China going through a health crisis with the spread of the coronavirus, the political environment around the globe being completely toxic, there’s a lot to be anxious and worried about. The internet is in constant overdrive spreading news of devastation and tragedy in every corner of the globe. Twitter and Facebook has become a bizarre place to be with so much bullying and negativity circulating. Any wonder students around the globe are feeling stressed out and overwhelmed. So what does all that mean to their mental health and what can schools do?
A recent report on the mental health of Australian children and adolescents said schools play a major role in supporting young people with emotional and behavioural problems and are often where symptoms of mental disorders are first identified. The report found that one in seven children aged 4 to 17 were assessed having mental disorders in the previous 12 months – equivalent to 560,000 Australian children and adolescents. Many in the education community believe apps and web programs can help. Unlike wellbeing lessons or counselling, these apps are accessible at all times and circumvent the stigma that stop students seeking help.
With Edtech on the rise, there is great educational technology and teacher tools out there that teach students about the importance of good mental health by encouraging learning, communication and activity. So kicking off 2020 with that in mind is a great way to start.