Mental health is a very sensitive subject. It is like a taboo in most places, and people seldom open up about their mental health. They avoid accepting any such condition and ignore the warning signs that may start showing at any stage of a person’s life. Just like a person needs to be physically healthy and take care of their body, the mind also needs care and attention. Maintaining a healthy and fit mind is as important as maintaining a healthy and fit body.
Our body will suffer if our mind is not healthy. Just like we go to a doctor for any pain or signs of a physical disease, it is crucial to treat your mental health the same way. Just because we cannot see it doesn’t mean it does not have any value. If we have any kind of mental health issue, it affects the way we think, act, and feel. Therefore, mental health is important, and it should be paid attention to, specially at a young age.
Signs of mental health conditions start appearing by the time a child is 14 years old. Schools and educational institutions can play a very important role in identifying early signs of any mental health condition and start treatment right away. For this, educational institutes need counselors who are specialists with relevant degrees like an online MPH that know about health care, community service, mental health counseling, and behavioral health counseling. Such a person can address issues on an individual level that is particularly beneficial for students. In addition, having a counselor present in school encourages students to come forward and share any mental health issues that they might be facing. Here are a few points that advocate the importance of mental health counselors in educational institutes.
- Recognize Signs That Should Not Be Ignored
People usually find it difficult to identify the signs of mental health conditions. They fail to separate common issues and mental health concerns. Often, even parents don’t know what signs are dangerous and can indicate that their child has or will have mental health problems in the future. Some common signs are:
- Eating disorders
- Dysfunctional families
- Social withdrawal
- Stress and anxiety
- Physical or emotional abuse
- Drug or alcohol abuse
- Academic failures
- Peer pressure
These are some of the most common signs and circumstances that can eventually lead to bigger and more complex mental health problems for a person in the future. These signs should not be ignored. They may vary from person to person, but these are serious and alarming issues at the end of the day. Mental health counselors can recognize these signs and help accordingly.
- Why Mental Health Counselors?
Like every disease, mental health problems also need timely detection and treatment. The earlier we address the issue, the better the chance of recovery. If every educational institute hires a professional counselor, it can help with early detection. It will teach students that mental health is important and it is something that needs to be discussed and treated. If we teach this to young people in school, they will go on to become confident about asking for help for their mental health concerns and helping others too. Students mostly feel ashamed to discuss issues like abuse, bullying, or family problems, leading to a bigger problem in the future. A counselor can play a significant role in giving young people the confidence that they need to open up.
- The Path to Recovery
The first step is the most difficult one; once a person opens up and starts talking about their problems, the path to healing starts there. Encouraging students to open up and discuss their mental health issues freely from a young age will be very beneficial in the long run. They will have control over their state of mind from a young age and go on to become healthy and confident adults. Educational institutes shape a person’s personality, and the state of one’s mind can also play a vital role in it. So, it only makes sense that they focus on a student’s mental health as well because a person cannot excel like the rest if they have any sort of mental health concern.
- Ward Off Misconceptions
It is very important to break the taboo surrounding mental health. Having mental health issues does not make a person crazy or a maniac. This is where counselors can make a difference and clear this misconception in the minds of young people. Young people need to know that having these issues are completely normal and deserve acknowledgment.
To sum it up, educational institutes are responsible for shaping the future of young people, and that includes shaping their mental health as well. Getting mental guidance in schools and universities is vital because those are crucial stages of one’s life. The prevalence of this practice will help students understand the value of their mental state. They will see their peers get help and feel more at ease while addressing such issues. The role of counselors is as important as the role of a teacher. A student with mental health concerns needs a counselor as much as they need a teacher. They need someone who can pick them up and listen to them. Every person needs someone to give them the confidence to move forward. Counselors can become a ray of hope for students who are dealing with such problems.