October is Mental Health Awareness Month. Last Tuesday (October 10) was Mental Health Day. The following article focuses on the mental health and well-being of school-age children. It is done by Dr Margaret Nakhid-Chatoor, clinical psychologist/ senior lecturer, UTT and President-Elect of the Trinidad and Tobago Association of Psychologists.
Social media in a globalised world has brought issues related to mental health and well-being of children and adolescents closer into the spotlight. Issues such as bullying, emotional and behavioural disorders and increased hyperactivity of students in our schools are just a few of the many problems that can destabilise a school environment.
Bullying, which is a serious mental health issue, is not a new phenomenon in our schools; neither are the discussions mentioned above on the issue. In 2009 and 2011–2012, training in bullying and intervention programmes were provided by the Ministry of Education (MoE), and the Ministry of Local Government to schools. Despite these initiatives, physical bullying has increased and cyberbullying is on the rise. Violence has escalated and some of our schools are no longer seen to be safe places.