Thursday, May 23, 2024
Home > Counties > Association suggests mental health be included in education curriculum

Association suggests mental health be included in education curriculum

Kenya Psychiatric Association (KPA) is recommending that mental health be incorporated in the education curriculum.

The KPA President Dr Boniface Chitayi said the subject is vital as it will enable students cope with stress, as well as increase their resilience and emotional intelligence when faced with setbacks.

He said it is also necessary for all learning institutions to have a counselling psychologist to help students navigate stressful situations such as grief, failing exams, relationships, pregnancy, economic hardships at home and traumas.

“The Association recommends that schools must have a referral plan for more serious mental problems where affected students can get psychosocial support services,” said Dr Chitayi.

In a press statement sent to newsrooms, the KPA President advised school heads to have regular forums where issues of health talks, debates and writing competitions to create awareness on mental health among students can be discussed.

The Association proposes that the teacher ratio be 40:1 as recommended by UNESCO, noting that if it is adhered to, students will have maximum attention from their teachers whose end result will be better learning and productivity.

“This will prevent stress and burnout among the teaching fraternity due to handling a class that is too large,’ said Dr Chitayi.

He added “Every developing child requires recognition and good learning experience that involves both the teacher and parents which is being provided for in competency based curriculum”.

He at the same time noted that the education sector should consider training teachers on mental health as the knowledge will enable them to identify children who may have mental, neurological, learning difficulties and disabilities and refer them for assessments at an early stage.

The Association recommended that corporal punishment be banned in schools, as it increases vulnerability of a person to mental disorder, contributes to child abuse, trauma and infringes on the rights of the child.

According to the Association, punishment should be rational and in proportion to offence and aimed at correction and not merely instilling pain.

Dr Chitayi said time management is vital among learners and urged schools to adjust their routines to allow students have a minimum of eight hours sleep daily.

Over the past few years, there have been raising concerns on cases of indiscipline and violent behavior among learners and those seeking mental health services in various facilities across the country.

The cases in schools have been attributed to peer pressure, harsh school rules, stress related to performance pressure, poor parental care, drug abuse and inconsistent punishments.

By Bernadette Khaduli

Leave a Reply