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Nurturing Children's Mental Health in International Schools and Beyond


  Children's mental health and wellbeing are becoming more critical factors in learning outcomes and chances for life. Students from underprivileged community schools and those serving ethnic minority populations usually face more barriers to accessing the much-needed support. Nair et al. (2021) argue that disasters such as the COVID-19 pandemic have, in turn, intensified the workload on mental health services and highlighted the system's fragility. This post details children's mental well-being issues in the school environment by examining recent research findings. The aim is to understand the challenges and develop ways to normalize help-seeking behaviours to improve mental health literacy and access to care. The exploration covers three sources that investigate the effects of COVID-19 on the Indian student population, the vitality of looking after the wellbeing of Hong Kong examination candidates and reevaluating educational support services in South Africa. Recurrent topics that are highlighted demonstrate how the stigma regarding mental health is unequally distributed in the school environment. Addressing these biases is the first measure to eliminate stigma from mental health and to achieve schools that are inclusive and stimulating for all students.

            Hay et al. (2021) examined the necessity of reimaging the support services in South Africa to facilitate inclusive education. Their research revealed that such services were implemented inconsistently, hindering assisting students. Chun et al. (2022) also explored the hurdles to student mental well-being presented by high-stakes testing in Hong Kong due to the disruption caused by COVID-19. Research findings indicated that students had extremely high-stress levels during the exam period. Both sources emphasize students' and teachers' need for proper mental health support. Rana and Daniel (2023) discussed how COVID-19 is a factor that hinders the realization of children's rights and mental health protection in India. School closures made existing vulnerabilities worse and highlighted pre-existing disparities. The recurring belief in the literature is that the pandemic, in particular, deepens the struggle of marginalized groups of students whose support systems are usually not effective enough. The sources also highlighted the need for comprehensive, multilevel strategies involving support services, teacher care, and treatment of mental health issues in Currintoula.

            Stigmas associated with mental health and help-seeking behaviours might be the most acute in the environment of international schools and less privileged communities. Students and their families could be from cultures where stigma is deeply ingrained or unaware of these issues. Discrimination or language barriers could also lead to isolation from support. The school environment plays a paramount role in mental health stigmatization through multilevel methods. Rana and Daniel (2023) highlight how awareness campaigns can educate students and the general public to identify the signs, improve knowledge, and motivate help-seeking. Integrated into curricula, mental health education provides literacy to students from a young age. Training educators allows them to discern problems and find appropriate ways of addressing them. It is vital to create a culture of inclusiveness where the students can openly talk about their difficulties and know where to go for confidential advice. It is valuable to convey to youth that asking for help is a form of strength rather than weakness to prevent issues from worsening.

            Ultimately, this study focused on several essential problems concerning the mental health and wellbeing of kids in international schools, impoverished communities, and schools with ethnic minority students. Events like the COVID-19 pandemic turned pre-existing vulnerabilities into crises, and the inequities in the support systems came into existence. A crucial step towards the eradication of stigmas around mental health is to allow these marginalized students to access the support and resources they have a right to. Agreeing with Skurka (2014), the school is the centre of the destigmatization of asking for help using a diverse, full-school approach. Further research could focus on particular best practices and compare programs to increase mental health literacy and inclusion in these high-risk learning environments. 

Chun, D. W. S., Yau, S. H., Chan, W. M., & Fung, T. T. (2022, August). Wellbeing of Hong Kong DSE Students in the Post-COVID-19 Age: Opportunities and Challenges for Mental Health Education and Promotion. In International Conference on Wellbeing in the Information Society (pp. 3-22). Cham: Springer International Publishing.

Cleary, T. J., & Zimmerman, B. J. (2004). Self‐regulation empowerment program: A school‐based program to enhance self‐regulated and self‐motivated cycles of student learning. Psychology in the Schools41(5), 537–550.

Darling-Hammond, S. (2023). Fostering Belonging, Transforming Schools: The Impact of         Restorative Practices. Learning Policy Institute.

Dabbagh, N., & Kitsantas, A. (2004). Supporting self-regulation in student-centred web-based       learning environments. In International Journal on E-learning (Vol. 3, No. 1, pp. 40–47).       Association for the      Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE).

England-Mason, G., & Gonzalez, A. (2020). Intervening to shape children’s emotion regulation: A review of emotion socialization parenting programs for young children. Emotion, 20(1), 98.

Hay, J., Joubert, C., Makhalemele, T., Payne-van Staden, I., Masunungure, A., Malindi, M. J., ... & van der Merwe, W. (2021). Reconceptualizing education support services in South Africa (p. 452). AOSIS.

Kehoe, M., Hemphill, S., & Broderick, D. (2016). Writing the wrong: Using restorative practices          to address student behaviour. Locked Out: Understanding school exclusion in Australia             and Aotearoa New Zealand, 135-152.


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