Mental Health & Wellbeing in International Schools in Singapore During COVID-19
In their flagship report, The State of the World's Children 2021, UNICEF indicates that the pandemic has affected children in ways we are yet to understand fully. For this reason, parents must take their children's mental health seriously, and in this article, we look at how you can help your children through these difficult times.
The international schools in Singapore take the issues involving the mental health of their students very seriously. The best international schools in Singapore have drafted plans and trained their staff to help alleviate some of the mental stress of their students, and Chatsworth International is no exception.
Mental Health Vs. Mental Illness
Mental illness is a condition that affects how the sufferer thinks, behaves, and interacts with the people around them. There are many types of mental illnesses, and they require professional medical treatment. A few examples of mental illness include depression, chronic anxiety, bipolarity and more.
On the other hand, mental health is our mental wellbeing. Here, we refer to our thoughts, our feelings, the ability to identify, analyse and solve problems, how we react to our friends and how we react to the world around us.
These are two very different issues, and the mental health of our children should be important to every parent. Neglecting our child's mental health could lead to detrimental consequences in the future for them.
Mental Health of Chatsworth International Students During COVID
The importance of mental health has been thrust into the limelight in the wake of the pandemic. Students are struggling to learn from home amidst the school closures and grapple with the feelings of isolation because of the Safe Management Measures in school and public. The absence of school-wide events during this period has further exacerbated the feelings of isolation as students from different year levels are unable to connect with one another as they would in normal circumstances. Chatsworth International School recognises that being a student during these times is a challenge, and children across all groups face their unique hardships.
Younger children in kindergarten struggle to understand why they cannot play with their friends in groups. The constant reminder to not touch others prevents kindergarten children from any meaningful form of contact with their peers. This lack of tactile experience can be incredibly frustrating to young children who are still developing and very excited about discovering the world.
IB Primary Years
Primary students at Chatsworth International are frustrated because they cannot play with their friends in groups and have been constantly reminded to keep a safe distance from one another. At this age, they are full of energy and yet are forced to wear masks and not mingle around with their beloved classmates. These physical limitations can have unforeseen effects on their mental wellbeing.
IB Middle Years
Like their Primary counterparts, Middle Years students have grappled with many of the same issues. The lack of social interaction, team sports, and long hours spent in front of their computers have increased anxiety, leading to poor sleeping habits and heightened stress levels.
Safe Management Measures
Safe Management Measures are essential for everyone's safety, but they can add to many students' anxiety and emotional stress. These issues often result in an inability to regulate their emotions healthily. Unfortunately, the K-12 students of Chatsworth International are no exception to this global phenomenon.
At Chatsworth International, we are heavily invested in the health and safety of our students. There is a full-time nurse on campus during school days, from 8.30 am to 4.30 pm. Our Student Services team is also readily available to liaise with parents and students on any health and safety concerns.
What Can You as a Parent Do?
Fortunately, parents play a hugely influential part in their children's lives and can help them healthily regulate their emotions and feelings. Breaking the stigma around mental health and explaining to your children the importance of nurturing healthy mental wellbeing are some necessary initial steps you can take to ensure your child is aware of their mental wellbeing.
As a parent, you can facilitate open and honest communication that talking about feelings, emotions, and fears are healthy. As with all top international schools, we have prepared some parenting resources to help your child navigate the post-pandemic world. You can model positive and healthy coping mechanisms, which your children can emulate to help deal with their mental and emotional distress.
If your child isn't one to talk about how they feel, try providing them with other outlets such as writing in a journal, expressive painting and even gardening. You can still do these activities with your child to show love and support without the added pressure of having to talk.
Nurture Mental Health with Chatsworth International School Singapore
The staff at Chatsworth International School are aware of the pressures that COVID brings and are ready to support and encourage students to work through any issues.
Chatsworth Counselling Department at Chatsworth International School will be on hand with skilled, compassionate staff members to guide and counsel the students. Individual and group counselling have continued to take place with creative alternatives even through the Safe Management Measures in accordance with its restrictions. With its open-door policy, students are always welcomed to the counselling office for any issues they may face in their lives. The tag-team of professional counsellors and compassionate staff alongside parents that are there for their children will go a long way toward improving the mental health of our students.
You can contact us anytime, to learn more about the services we provide to take care of the mental wellbeing of our students.