Q: I am a primary school teacher, I often come across very small kids who show signs of being lonely, are slow in reaction, speak negatively, may cry if spoken to, how can we as teachers help such kids?
Kavita Upadhyay: Any intense negative emotion can be a thing of concern if it continues for a long time and if it is affecting the child’s social life, academic, emotional or daily routine. What you are pointing out, prima facie seems to be a symptom of depression. Speak to these kids and look for the following signs and symptoms:
- Tired even after taking rest or energy is low
- Lack of concentration
- Disturbed daily routine/ inability to have a normal routine
- Complain of ill health/pain
- Sad/ anxious/ irritable
- Staying aloof
- Talks of self-harming
In case your student is experiencing any of the above or if the parents have observed such patterns then it may be that the child is suffering from a depressive disorder.
Try listening to the child without judging or advising them. Give warmth and assurance by involving them in age-appropriate activity. In school try to involve them in expressing themselves through art, craft, painting or journal writing. Try to defend them from stressful environments and conflict.
Try contacting an expert, who would provide the right therapy after assessment. The child would be spoken to and trained to manage their thoughts and feelings. Try not to delay if the tendency of self-harm is seen. By undergoing the right treatment the child will gradually learn to manage stress and lead a happy life as they grow up.
Student counsellor and has expertise in teaching psychology, career counselling, stress management and gender issues. Kavita is also an expert practitioner in marital counselling, life skills, interaction with community, research and tool construction.
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