Mental Health pertaining to children has always been an essential concern for parents as well as health professionals. According to WHO approximately 10 – 20 % of children and adolescents experience mental health concerns.
At Manas we recognize these challenges and keep evolving our strategy to meet the diverse and ever growing need for mental health services in children and adolescents. Manas is also regularly commissioned to undertake mental health related interventions and programmes with college and school students and teachers, and has an existing extensive body of work aimed towards identifying best practices, developing systems to promote student-counselor-educator-parent interactions, creating awareness on mental health, mental health curriculum and also directly addressing the mental health concerns that arise within the partner institutes. We seamlessly blend mental health curriculum into the academic curricula through various modalities ranging from direct intervention, research as well as a workshop-based, interactive curriculum.
We are very pleased to share with you that it has launched in a more structured manner its school programs as “The Circle Program”.
“The Circle Program” name was very carefully chosen to not only reflect our services as well as to cover the areas which are extremely important to the school culture of being a safe place where we continue to nurture learning but also create a resilient future. Circle represents a whole ensuring that all the important dots are connected including all the stakeholders in your school community and school mental health programs.
Mental Health Curriculum for School Students
Through the medium of regular interactive workshops held multiple times over the academic year, audio-visual material and activity-based learning, key themes relevant to psycho-socio-emotional health of specific age groups are taken up. These grade-specific themes are incorporated into a comprehensive academic curriculum that can be customized to fit the needs and concerns being experienced by the children in each specific institute. The implementation of workshops around these specific themes with the students follow multiple interactions with the same groups of students over the course of the academic year enabling a long-term engagement with these concerns and allowed the students to build on personal and collective insights through each successive interaction. Some of our partners in this approach are/have been:
|Sanskriti School||Amity International Schools|
|The Air force School||The Mothers’ International School|
|Sardar Patel Vidyalaya||Gyan Bharti School|
Training Programmes with School Counsellors
Several schools now have in-house counsellors that are deployed to help students manage psychosocial concerns. This is a major step in the direction of providing specialized and professional mental health services that are technically equipped to deal with students’ mental health needs and concerns. However, school counsellors often report a need for capacity building, case supervision and peer reviews.
In our extensive work with school students, we have developed training modules and hands-on curricula for school counsellors and mental health professionals working with children and adolescents in association with UNFPA, the Directorate of Education GNCTD, and SCERT (2016). An indepth training programme for newly inducted Guest Counsellors in Delhi Government Schools was also initiated under this partnership wherein trainings were facilitated with 160 newly inducted counsellors, via a five-day programme covering specific subthemes pertaining to counselling school children.
Capacity Building of Teachers
The trainings we undertake with school teachers adopts an interactive workshop-based methodology, including multimedia resources, role plays, case discussions and peer mentoring. Our trainings are activity-based, allowing the teachers and staff to experientially understand their role in creating an enabling environment within which students’ feel safe and cared for. Some of the themes on which we conduct teacher trainings include:
- Children protection
- Children’s mental health needs and concerns
- Adolescent psychology
- Identifying developmental concerns in young children
- Mental health awareness
- Creating positive classrooms
- Student diversity
- Stress management for teachers
- Orientation to career counselling
Awareness programmes for academic institutes
Mental health awareness is an imperative first step to develop clarity about our own and others’ psycho-social and emotional needs, and work towards a more holistic sense of well-being. Propagation of myths around mental health further the stigmatization and reduce help seeking behavior on part of the affected. To target this, since its inception, Manas Foundation has worked relentlessly to raise evidence-based mental health awareness amongst academic institutions through workshops, campaigns, action-research and advocacy. Under one of our initiatives, in 2016, The Live Love Laugh Foundation, an organization founded by actor Deepika Padukone, approached Manas Foundation to become their implementing partner for school mental health workshops in Delhi. Over two years of partnership (2016-2017, and 2017-2018), Manas conducted workshops on mental health awareness at more than 200 schools in Delhi/NCR, reaching out to approximately 24,000 students and 7,000 teachers.
Direct Mental Health Intervention Model for Academic Institutes
Manas also has a model of direct delivery of mental health interventions with academic institutes wherein we plug in the required services within their existing infrastructure. We visit the institute according to a pre decided schedule for counseling students, conducting assessment as well as taking workshops on topics such as interpersonal relationships, stress management, gender sensitivity, diversity and respect, addiction, social conformity etc. Under one such association, since 2011, our team members visit Dyal Singh College (Delhi University) and Adhyayan Public School Kapashera on a weekly basis.
Psychometric Assessments for Students
We have an in-house team of professionals to implement standardized psychological tests to gain insight into areas affecting the child that are used to assess current developmental, academic and intellectual functioning and resolve reported concerns. All assessments follow standards of ethics and the comfort of clients. ?For more information about the assessments conducted at Manas, CLICK HERE
Research on Mental Health and Well-Being in Children
Manas Foundation has undertaken research on understanding mental health and well-being needs and concerns of students and children, along with researching the interventions in place to address these needs. The objectives, methods and outcomes of these research programmes have been oriented towards mapping, developing and advocating for enabling access of systematic mental health services to children, students and teachers for strengthening the overall academic system.
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