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Nov 26, 2022 / 07:19

Hanoi addresses students' mental health issues

School is one of the most critical psychosocial environments for adolescents.

Hanoi has promoted a mental health care program for students in 2022-2025 period, emphasizing the need to pilot models of mental health improvement in schools and replicate them.

ActionAid International Vietnam (AAV) Country Director Hoang Phuong Thao informed at the "Mental Health Care in Schools: From Policy to Practice" workshop held in Hanoi this week.

Students share their wishes in a school psychology consultation. Photo: The Hanoi Times

Thao said that successfully addressing developmental, academic, and social issues during adolescence (ages 10 to 19) will help children achieve a healthy, positive, and successful life.

“When new-onset mental health problems go untreated, they will seriously affect a child's development, academic performance, and life potential. Lack of understanding of mental health issues, social stigma, limited mental health services, and resources means that most of these children are unable to receive treatment or support,” Thao said.

She added that school, one of the psychosocial environments for adolescents, involves risk factors, protective factors, and opportunities to promote and support their mental health. Mental health services in schools are critical to supporting adolescent students and addressing related risk factors in schools.

"However, so far, about 70% of schools across Vietnam do not have a standard psychology consultation room, so students cannot receive timely and adequate support," Thao said.

Three of the most outstanding results of the research related to the psychological problems of primary school students were presented at the workshop: almost 50% of the children think that their parents are strict and that the classes are overloaded, which are the two main factors that affect the mental health of children.

On the other hand, almost 80% of parents and more than 90% of teachers believe that the cause of most psychological problems in children is their early access to modern technology and Internet addiction.

 An overview of the workshop. Photo: The Hanoi Times

The discussion session at the workshop also gained many opinions from parents, teachers, and students.

Expressing their desire for a psychology consultation room in schools, the children said the room must be an open space decorated with flowers and other convenient equipment.

The teacher in charge of the psychology room must respect, love, and be gentle and friendly with the children; above all, they must keep secret stories confided by children.

The workshop opened an opportunity for stakeholders to look directly at mental health issues and the difficulties in dealing with it among students, parents, and teachers. It is an activity under the cooperation program “Safe and Quality Schools for Children” between the Taiwan Fund for Children and Families (TFCF), the AAV, and the Aid for social protection program Foundation Vietnam (AFV).

The program runs between 2019 and 2025, supporting primary school students in Hanoi’s outskirt district of Soc Son and Binh Tan District in Ho Chi Minh City in building safe schools, improving students’ psychological health, preventing water-borne diseases and improving the quality of educational facilities.

Fulfilling the tasks mentioned above will promote the comprehensive development of children, especially those who are poor in urban areas.