Teachers can help teens with mental issues

Mental health programme

As an educator for over 30 years, I know the trials and tribulations young children and teenagers go through.

While it is important to handle them firmly – discipline is very important – teachers have to also lend a friendly hand and be a friend when needed.

This is why I welcome the Malaysian Mental Health Association’s (MMHA) mental health first aid programme to educate teachers on ways to tackle adolescents with mental health issues.

In explaining this move, MMHA executive director Cheong Sue Jen said it was time to expose teachers to mental health first aid as they are the first responders in schools.

How true this is.

Teachers are with the students for up to eight hours each day. If they are trained to identify those suffering from mental issues, and how to speak to them, it will certainly be beneficial.

Having someone to talk to when you most need it can make a major difference in a child’s life.

That is why at Global Oak Tree Scholars (GOTS) I make sure my coaches – we call our teachers coaches – have to sit for the NLP for the Academics designed by the Master Trainers of ABNLP (American Board of Neuro-Linguistic Programme)

The NLP for the Academics was designed by the master trainers from the American Board of NLP.

What is NLP and how is it relevant to what MMHA is doing?

Among others, NLP is a series of techniques that help children and adults with personal growth by conscious training of the neural pathways in the brain.

NLP helps build confidence in children with anxiety while helping them manage stress, reduce guilt and depression, and minimising those fearful thoughts that make them so anxious.

Among the benefits of NLP are:

  • Making sure children have confidence and high self-esteem.
  • Enabling them to be sociable and understanding them by communicating on equal terms.
  • Help children maintain their mental and physical health by acting in purposeful ways.

In a way, we have already begun to address the issues which MMHA has identified.

And as suggested by MMHA, our coaches and I also have regular talks with parents with regards to NLP and how they can use it to help their children.

As pointed out by MMHA, online bullying is on the rise.

This is something we can only learn about if we communicate with our children as no one – parents or teachers – can see it happening.

By opening a two-way communication, it will be easy to advise and help the victims.

I’m so glad MMHA is going to train the secondary school counsellors in Kuala Lumpur and has plans to take the programme nationwide.

There are times teachers are a child’s only outlet if they have a problem. Teachers must be equipped with the right tools to help those in need.

Thank you MMHA for thinking about our youth.

This is the personal opinion of the writer and does not necessarily represent the views of Twentytwo13.