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Mental health: A growing concern for school students 

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By Sukhmanjot Kaur Mattu

“What mental health needs is more sunlight, more candour, and more unashamed conversation.” ― Glenn Close, actress

In the 21st century, many new ideas, issues, ideologies have come up. The world is becoming more open to discussing issues which were earlier unspoken of and were considered ‘taboo.’

Mental health is now an important aspect of overall well-being. It is often looked at as an adult-centric issue but it affects adolescents as well. Schools increasingly have become prone to having a very complex social setting and competitive environment. Students often feel dejected and depressed. With the exposure to social media, teenagers compare their lives with absolute strangers and tend to feel inferior.

The pressures of school, extracurricular activities, work and relationships with friends and family can be a lot for a student to manage. Over time, these feelings and emotions get piled up and teenagers begin to feel constantly sad and insecure. As a result, they develop a low self-esteem and it hinders their ability to participate in their own everyday activities. A whole new set of academic problems, such as lack of attendance, poor social integration, trouble adjusting to school, behavioural, attention-specific and concentration issues.

The need of the hour is to acknowledge these problems. A majority of the population in India still feels that unstable mental health is a sign of weakness, and that speaking about them would bring shame to the family. Individuals don’t speak up for the fear of societal judgement, so our educational institutions need to become more equipped and empathetic. Open and sincere discussions about mental health should be encouraged. Educational policies must be reformed to keep a healthy atmosphere going. All schools should provide and encourage counselling services so that students can function, learn and integrate socially in a holistic way. 

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