What brings you happiness in life? According to the global happiness survey 2022*, 90% of respondents say it’s their physical and mental health. But are we truly prioritising well-being as we should? Perhaps a few countries have found the answer: a human-centred economy were we prioritise human well-being and happiness as key indicators of economic success which include factors such as health, education, work/study-life balance, and overall life satisfaction could be a possible answer to get there.
*Global Happiness survey 2022 – https://www.ipsos.com/sites/default/files/ct/news/documents/2022-04/ipsos-global-happiness-survey-2022.pdf
Well-being isn’t just the absence of illness; it’s a state of thriving, flourishing, and reaching our full potential. Achieving this requires awareness, education, and personal growth. The ideal place to instil well-being is during childhood. Schools that prioritise not only academic achievement but also emotional and social development contribute to a happier and more balanced world. Recognizing well-being’s importance in education leads to healthier, more resilient, and happier students prepared to tackle future challenges. There are many frameworks available like SEARCH , PERMA-V and CCE (by Singapore MOE) to guide us in building one for schools, here in this blog we are looking at more generic ways of approaching this topic.
Approach to Student Well-Being
- Physical Health: Physical health is the foundation of well-being. Schools emphasise this through physical education, including nutrition, exercise, and adequate sleep. As an example: exposure to sunlight, such as through outdoor learning, boosts energy and resilience.
- Mental Health: Mental health is an increasingly important topic. Academic pressures, social expectations, and personal issues can impact students. Schools are increasingly providing access to counselling services, learning resources, and a safe-inclusive environment where students are valued and respected.
- Emotional and Social Well-Being: Emotional intelligence is an under-rated but a valuable skill. Students who can recognize and manage their emotions tend to perform better academically and have healthier relationships, leading to positive relationships which are crucial for well-being. Implementing a well-being curriculum that covers mental health, social-emotional learning, mindfulness, and character-building is ideal.
Promoting Student Well-Being
- Comprehensive Mental Health Education: Integrate mental health education and well-being topics into the curriculum. Cover mental health awareness, coping skills, and overall personal development, including fostering positive mindsets, characters, and resilience.
- Access to Support Services: Provide on-site counselling services and resources. Create a safe space where students can seek help, framing counselling centres as well-being clubs where self-improvement can be the goal. Incorporate mindfulness exercises and relaxation techniques into daily routines to help manage stress.
- Peer Support Programs: Establish peer support programs where older, trained students assist younger ones in navigating academic and social challenges. These programs help build empathy and soft skills in future leaders.
- Parent Involvement: Strong parent support groups are essential for successfully implementing well-being programs. A supportive network is invaluable.
- Teacher Training: Support and train educators to effectively lead well-being initiatives. Can you imagine leading a class in a group breathing practice without being trained? How to scaffold psychologically safe questions to the group to facilitate discussion post mindfulness practice? Or how to recognize a student who requires additional support.
- Adoption of Technology : Technology isn’t just a tool for academics; it’s a powerful ally in promoting student well-being. From mental health apps to online support communities, technology has revolutionised the way we approach and support the mental, emotional, and physical health of students.
Benefits of Well-Being Programs
Well-being programs yield both tangible and intangible benefits. They improve academic performance, reduce absenteeism, and decrease mental health issues. More importantly, they shape individuals who can bounce back from setbacks and view challenges as opportunities for growth. Investing in student well-being is both a moral imperative and a smart investment. Well-being enhances academic success, attendance, positive behaviour, and future educational pursuits.
To learn more about how we support schools and students on their well-being journey, contact us at hello@Zoala.co. Together, we can build a brighter future.
Mental Wellness, First !