Agustino D. Amancio

In the Philippines, a nation grappling with the evolving challenges of modern life, the mental health of learners has become an increasingly pressing concern. As per a study conducted by the Department of Education in 2021 (DOE, 2021), a staggering 35% of Filipino students reported
experiencing heightened levels of stress and anxiety during their educational journey. In this
context, teachers wield a profound influence, not only in imparting knowledge but in shaping the
mental well-being of their students. Teachers play a pivotal role in managing the mental health of

A primary step in managing the mental health of learners is to establish a safe and inclusive classroom environment. Teachers should foster a sense of belonging and acceptance among
students, irrespective of their background, abilities, or differences. A supportive atmosphere
encourages open communication, reduces anxiety, and boosts self-esteem, all of which contribute
to better mental health. Teachers must be vigilant in recognizing signs of distress in their students.

These signs may include changes in behavior, decreased academic performance, withdrawal from social interactions, or expressions of stress and anxiety. By paying close attention and building strong relationships with their students, teachers can identify those in need of support and intervention. Teaching learners about emotional intelligence is an essential part of managing their mental health. Educating students on identifying and regulating their emotions, as well as empathizing with others, helps them navigate the challenges of school and life.

Teachers can incorporate emotional intelligence into their lessons, fostering self-awareness and emotional resilience. Creating an environment where students feel comfortable discussing their thoughts and feelings is crucial for mental health management. Teachers should encourage open communication, both in one-on-one interactions and group settings. This includes being approachable, listening without judgment, and offering a safe space for students to express themselves. Teachers can offer guidance and support to students facing mental health challenges.

This support may involve referring students to school counselors, psychologists, or other
professionals when necessary. Additionally, teachers can provide academic accommodations, such as extended deadlines, to reduce stress during challenging times. Teaching stress management and coping strategies is an integral part of managing the mental health of learners. Educating students on healthy ways to handle stress, such as mindfulness techniques, time management, and relaxation exercises, equips them with valuable life skills.

Teachers can incorporate these strategies into their curriculum or offer resources for students to explore. Teachers must also take care of their own mental health. By practicing self-care and setting
an example, educators demonstrate the importance of well-being. When teachers prioritize their
mental health, they show students that it’s acceptable to seek help and prioritize self-care when
needed. In sum, teachers are the architects of both knowledge and mental well-being. They craft
spaces of safety and inclusivity, decode the language of distress, foster emotional intelligence,
and sow seeds of resilience. Their actions echo beyond the classroom, nurturing not just academic
growth but emotional fortitude.

Amianan Balita Ngayon