Osaka YMCA
International School

Mental Health is Real and It’s Time to Start Addressing It

mental health awareness week
Thomas Bell

Thomas Bell

Mr. Tom has been working in the mental health field for fifteen years both in schools and in the community. He is a father of two and is happily married to his also counselor wife, Ms. Amy Pothong. He enjoys reading and drinking coffee when his children let him.

For Mental Health Awareness Week, our school counselor, Tom Bell, writes about mental health at home between parents and students. It is vital that parents and students communicate with each other about how they are doing mentally. Here are some ways to accomplish this conversation.

Mental Health is Real and It’s Time to Start Addressing It

メンタルヘルスは現実であり、今こそ対処すべきものである

If you have a problem, you should deal with it yourself.

Don’t burden others with your problems.

I was depressed once and I got through it. You should too.

Any of those statements sound familiar to you? You might be surprised how many students have come across these statements about mental health in their life whether it be from peer groups, family, or the internet. It reminds me of an ostrich sticking its head in the sand. By ignoring the problem, it ceases to exist, right?

By continuing to ignore the mental health of our children we are failing them as parents and caretakers. Bringing these issues into the light and dealing with them with the respect and courtesy afforded to anyone who suffers, be it a mental illness or physical one, should be a top priority for parents and schools.

Many times these problems begin in puberty, a time of transition for many students in which their biology, social life, feelings, and ideas of personal freedom change rapidly. Ironically, this is when they need the support of parents and friends the most, but are least likely to receive it. At the very least, we should be striving to ensure that everyone has at least one person that they can talk to about the critical issues in their lives. It’s the children that don’t have a person to support them who we need to worry about.

Let’s go over some simple ways to help our students/children with their mental health.

Don’t underestimate the power of physical touch. Give someone you love a hug. This simple display of love helps build children’s resilience and sense of belonging, both of which are key for promoting health and wellness in the teenage years (Education Development Center).

Listen to them. How many problems could be solved by simply allowing others to be heard? Try it out with your child tonight. No ‘yes, buts…’, just listen. This doesn’t mean you are agreeing with them, it’s merely making sure they feel heard.

Finally, take care of yourself. You are the most important person in your child’s life, so go out and get a massage, have a coffee with a friend, or even just take two minutes to take a deep breath. These small things add up and you might be surprised at the big impact they will have. Your child will probably notice too.

________

 

問題があるなら、自分で解決すべき。

自分の問題を他人に押し付けないで。

私も一度落ち込みましたがそれを乗り越えた。あなたもそうすべきだ。

これらの言葉に心当たりはありませんか?仲間や家族、インターネットなどから、今までの人生の中でこのような発言に出会ったことのある生徒は意外と多いのではないでしょうか。これは、身の危険を感じた時に砂の中に頭を突っ込んでいるダチョウを思い起こさせます。問題を無視することで、その問題は存在しなくなりますよね?

子供たちのメンタルヘルスを無視し続けることは、親として、世話をする人として、子供たちを失望させることになってしまいます。このような問題を明らかにし、精神疾患であれ身体疾患であれ、苦しんでいる人に敬意と礼儀をもって対処することは、親や学校にとって最も優先すべきことだと思います。

多くの場合、このような問題は思春期に始まります。思春期は、多くの生徒にとって、生物学的性質、社会生活、感情、個人の自由に関する考え方が急激に変化する転換期です。皮肉なことに、この時期は生徒たちは親や友人のサポートを最も必要としているにもかかわらず、それを受け取れないことが多いのです。私たちは誰もが人生の重要な問題について相談できる人を少なくとも1人は持つように努力すべきであり、それができない人のことを心配する必要があります。

では、生徒や子供たちを助けるための簡単な方法をいくつか見ていきましょう。

体に触れることの力を過小評価してはいけません。愛する人にハグをしましょう。このシンプルな愛の表現は、子供たちの回復力と帰属意識を高めるのに役立ちます。この2つの要素は、10代の健康と幸福を促進する上で重要です(教育開発センター)。

彼らの話に耳を傾けてください。相手の話を聞くことで解決できる問題がいくつあるでしょうか。今夜、お子さんと一緒に試してみてください。「そうだね、でも…」ではなく、ただ聞いてあげてください。これは、相手に同意しているということではなく、相手が聞いていると感じているかどうかを確認するだけです。

最後に、自分自身を大切にしてください。マッサージに行ったり、友達とコーヒーを飲んだり、2分間だけでもいいので深呼吸をしてみてください。このような小さなことの積み重ねが、大きな効果をもたらすことに驚くかもしれません。きっとお子さんも気づいてくれるでしょう。

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