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The Need to Transition from Traditional Counselling to Proactive and Preventive Mental Health Training - Part 1

Preventive Mental Health

Image by Total Shape from Pixabay

Traditional counselling in schools and colleges has long been the go-to method for addressing the mental health needs of students. However, with the increasing complexity and severity of mental health issues among young people, there is a growing recognition that simply offering counselling may not be enough. In recent years, there has been a push to replace traditional counselling with practicing psychologists in educational settings to better support students' mental health needs. Yet its reactive, not proactive.


A whole-person approach to mental health in schools looks at the student's emotional, social, and mental health as well as their cognitive growth. This way of teaching helps kids become well-rounded people who are better ready for life after school. It is very important to create a strong educational system that helps students do well in school by promoting early intervention, whole-person development, acceptance, resilience, reducing stigma, staff well-being, and better communities. All students, even those with mental health problems, should feel accepted, supported, and able to succeed in school by having learning spaces that are inclusive and recognise and meet the needs of all students.


Taking mental health problems into account in schools can help lower the shame that comes with having a mental health problem. This makes the community more open and friendly, which makes students more likely to ask for help when they need it. The attention is also on the mental health of teachers and support staff. Promoting mental health has made school buildings stronger and better able to help students in the best way possible.


Since the late 1990s, there has been a worry about the mental health of children and young adults, specifically Gen Z and now Gen Alpha, the most transformative cohort yet. Problems like COVID-19, ongoing climate change, war, the energy crisis, and social and economic stress are now thought to make the situation worse. These add to the stress already faced by young adults due to technology, fast-paced life, academic pursuits, peer pressure, disconnect from parents doing extended working hours, intense competition, etc. To focus preventative and therapeutic interventions, it is important to name and describe each factor, both individually and as a group.


One of the primary reasons why traditional counselling in schools and colleges needs to be replaced by practicing therapists is the depth of expertise and empowering tools that psychologists can provide. While school counsellors typically have a background in education and counselling, practicing therapists have advanced training in mental health diagnosis, treatment, and practical therapy techniques. This additional training equips therapists with the skills and knowledge to address a wider range of mental health issues effectively or refer them for professional help where necessitated.


The tools that can be imparted are manifold-


·         Mindfulness techniques

·         Meditation and Instant Destress Techniques

·         Alpha affirmations

·         Basic Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)

·         Gratitude journaling

·         Yoga & Breathwork

·         Mind-body exercises

·         Neuroplasticity awareness

·         Resilience-building techniques

·         Empowerment practices


Therapists and facilitators can also play a crucial role in collaborating with school staff and families to provide holistic support for students. By working closely with teachers, administrators, and parents, they can help create a comprehensive support network around students, ensuring that they receive consistent care and interventions both at school and at home. This collaborative approach can result in more effective outcomes for students and foster a culture of mental wellness within the school community. It is inevitable that teachers and other support staff can also participate in such workshops and gain enrichment.


It is time to prioritize the mental well-being of our students by embracing the invaluable contributions that certified and trained therapists and facilitators can make in shaping a healthier future generation, especially Gen Z and Gen Alpha, who need it the most. Continued in Part 2


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