This Childrens’ Day, Odisha Schools Focus On Mental Health Of Students Before Going Offline

Bhubaneswar: About 35 per cent clientele of a mental health wellness centre in Odisha’s Bhubaneswar comprised children in the age group of 7 to 15 years during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. “Parents have been reaching out to us as the children have become addicted to gadgets, indiscipline or cranky. Some of them are suffering from depression and feeling isolated. The academic psyche of such children have been affected ever since schools were shut,” said Anuradha Mohapatra of Manam Foundation, the mental health wellness centre.

This Children’s Day, discussions around mental health of children acquire great significance considering the humongous lifestyle changes they underwent since the onset of the pandemic in India. Keeping in mind such conditions, schools in Bhubaneswar are taking up measures to get the students acclimatised to the offline classes again before reopening for more classes. Not just COVID appropriate behaviour, they are also laying equal emphasis on exercises to gauge the social and mental growth of the students in the past two years.

Most of the schools have sought help from mental health experts to organise webinars and counselling sessions for students before they return to classrooms. “We are hosting such webinars for several schools in the city, which have sought our help. There are separate sessions for batches of students, parents as well as teachers,” added Anuradha.

“We don’t know about the socio-emotional health of the students. We don’t know how their learning capabilities have changed in these two years. Thus, we will arrange webinars for counselling kids and parents before resuming offline classes. We have roped in mental health experts and paediatricians,” said principal of Happy Hours School Nidhi Dhawan

Orientation programmes have also become mandatory at SAI International School for the commencement of offline classes. Webinars have also become a part of the reopening process at KIIT International School and DAV.

Sources said other schools are also mulling over introducing similar programmes.

Some schools have also changed their curriculum to include more activity-based learning and added outdoor events for grabbing the attention of students in the offline mode, who had been glued to gadgets.

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