What is the NCERT's take on the mental health of school students: As the fast paced words take more and more young students in its captivity, we all need to remember the importance of mental health, especially for young and growing students.
“Mental health is something that we all need to talk about, and we need to take the stigma away from it. So let’s raise the awareness. Let’s let everybody know it’s OK to have a mental illness and addiction problem.” — Demi Lovato
What is the Mental Health and Well-being of School Students Survey?
The National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) recently released a survey report on the mental health and well being of school students. It is the report on the Key findings of the survey conducted on multitudes of school students across India prepared by Anjum Sibia: Professor, Ruchi Shukla: Assistant Professor and Sushmita Chakraborty: Assistant Professor.
A total of 3,79,842 students participated in this survey, conducted between January to March, 2022, under the Manodarpan initiative of NCERT which is aimed at addressing the mental health and well being of students.
Why to conduct Mental Health and Well-being of School Students Survey?
National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 states “Children are unable to learn optimally when they are undernourished or unwell. Hence, the nutrition and health (including mental health) need to be addressed through healthy meals and the introduction of well-trained social workers, counsellors, and community involvement into the schooling system”
The study aims to gain an understanding of the perception of school students on different aspects of mental health and well-being. This could eventually help the education system of the country to benefit and support the students.
Who participated in this survey?
This survey collected information from students all over India (of all genders) in classes 6 to 8 (middle stage) and 9 to 12 (secondary stage). To maintain uniformity of the data, the Google Forms were shared with Government (central and state) and private schools across all the 28 States and 8 Union Territories of the country.
The survey was focused on the aspects such as
(i) their own selves and
(ii) self as viewed in social context
(iii) satisfaction with life (personal, school and academics)
(iv) emotions experienced
(v) fears and challenges and
(vi) strategies for coping and managing their emotions.
These aspects have been known to have effects on the mental health of school students.
What does the Mental Health and Well-being of School Students Survey say?
The findings of the survey have been filed under the following themes of
- Students' perceptions of personal and social self
- Students' perceptions on academic aspects like studies, exams and results
- Students' understanding of self
- Emotions or feelings
- Fears related to Covid-19
- Challenges experienced Emotions experienced Strategies for coping
- Regulation of emotions
- Coping strategies
What are the finding of Mental Health and Well-being of School Student Survey?
The report indicated that the students’ responses were high on protective factors for mental well-being such as:
- Responsibility for doing well in life.
- Experiencing satisfaction with school life.
- Considering themselves as trustworthy.
- Support from friends, parents and resolving by themselves.
- Practicing yoga and meditation as coping strategies.
Meanwhile, the concerning trend evident among students across students in all stages, gender and types of school:
- anxiety among students with regard to studies, examination and results
- frequent mood swings
- hesitation in asking questions
- being bothered by teachers’ not paying attention
- behaving under influence of peers
- desirous of counsellors’ support
So, what is the NCERT's take on the mental health of school students?
Students attending different types of schools in different geographical areas and socio-cultural settings of India, not only learn from the academic activities in the class but also the schools’ practises in realms of daily extra curriculars, disciplinary practises, social ethos, rules of interpersonal interactions within school, activities concerining societal and environmental well being etc. All these play significant role in supporting the mental and emotional well-being of each and every student.
The findings of this survey showcase the present day reality of today's students and their concerns - ranging from personal, emotional, social issues to challenges related to educational and career choices and dealing with the stress and anxiety related to peers.
The findings of this survey would have significant role in promoting the all round development of the bringht minds studying in the various schools of India, as envisaged in the National Education Policy, 2020.
“Mental health problems don’t define who you are. They are something you experience. You walk in the rain and you feel the rain, but you are not the rain.” — Matt Haig
Thus, the step taken by NCERT to analyse and study the current mental health of students in order to help them is worth praises. In a country like India, where mental health has not been a topic widely discussed, this is a huge step for the young, dynamic future of India.