Mental health is often ignored despite the fact that it affects millions of people every year. This year, the mental health crisis has further expanded especially after the COVID-19 lockdown period. But health experts believe, teachers can play a huge part to overcome stress and childhood traumas after the schools re-open.
A recent report reveals that the tele-counseling during March and July has been increased by 28% compared to the tele-counseling cases reported last year.
These figures are worrisome and they urge governments to pay attention to the mental health counseling on campus, implying that every school should have a certified practitioner to help the students.
The Premier of Victoria, Daniel Andrews shared last month that in addition to the certified practitioners, 1500 teachers will receive the necessary training. This project is a joint collaboration with Headspace with the sole purpose of finding and helping the students who are in desperate need. It will cover day to day stress, academic stress, family-related stress, and even childhood traumas too.
Such steps are vital especially after a major health pandemic like COVID-19. There are possibilities that this pandemic related lockdown has increased the cases of violence in families, abuse, stress, and trauma. Without any adequate information on these things, it is hard to understand what a child may be feeling. That’s why the plan of training teachers to get over stress and childhood traumas was considered.
Training teachers and other staff members about how abuse, childhood trauma, and violence affects a person’s mind will help them to show a helpful response. Determining a helpful response otherwise seems challenging because of the changing behavior of children.
Health experts define childhood trauma is an experience that exposes a child to any stressful, unexpected, violent, and abusive situation where he feels most vulnerable to it. unlike most children, some children are more likely to experience it and the cases are growing every year.
As per general estimated nearly 8.9% of children become a victim of abuse, more than 8.6% of children experience sexual abuse, 8.7% fell prey to mental abuse and some 2.4% experience neglect. These rates may be higher in different parts of the world but there is one thing in common that these childhood traumas leave any child with unimaginable damage and loss.
Even without direct involvement, children may experience childhood trauma if they see their family members being violent, abusive or following any unusual behavior that is hard for them to absorb. It could be because of mental illness, social problems, relationship issues, pandemic, war, or even a natural disaster.
Considering this, the latest COVID-19 is causing a high increase in these traumatic experiences in almost all parts of the world. As per official information, about 1/3rd of the Australian population are suffering from extreme financial issues, and mainly for the women, this COVID-19 pandemic has brought stress, depression, abuse, and violence in a house.
The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in Australia suggests that all schools should be ready to deal with stressed children. They have called this response to “trauma-informed.” It doesn’t mean that the school staff should get medical training and treat students with traumatic experiences. Rather it means that the teachers should be trained to understand the effects of abuse and trauma on children and how to identify a student who needs help.