Psychosocial Health In School

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Psychosocial Health In School
Psychosocial Health In School
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Psychosocial Health in School

The term "psychosocial health" is derived from the World Health Organization (WHO) definition of health. The WHO defines health as a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being.

Psychosocial health means that someone feels good and can realize their own abilities. In addition, the term also means the competence to cope with a normal level of stress in life, to be productive and to make a contribution to society. Psychosocial health therefore also plays a major role in the school environment.

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  • Stress, fear & Co.
  • Psychosocial health promotion and prevention
  • Strengthen life skills
  • Good school climate to feel good

The following factors, for example, have a positive or negative effect on the psychosocial health of students:

  • experienced social and performance pressure,
  • own level of performance and satisfaction with it,
  • Relationships with teaching staff and among each other,
  • Class atmosphere,
  • Ergonomics and comfort of the seat / workplace,
  • the feeling of having chosen the right school.

Stress, fear & Co

The school is the “workplace” for the pupils. Here, too, dissatisfaction is evident, including breaks that are too short or uncomfortable classrooms.

Schoolchildren are sometimes also burdened by various psycho-vegetative complaints (e.g. psychologically-related nausea or headache) or school stress. If physical and / or psychological complaints occur, a medical examination is always required to rule out an organic cause! Mental disorders / illnesses in children and adolescents include anxiety disorders (e.g. fear of school, school phobia), aggressive behavior as well as depressive and hyperkinetic disorders (e.g. ADHD). Psychosomatic complaints can also occur.

Psychosocial health promotion and prevention

Psychosocial health is influenced by the entire school environment and is therefore a central issue in almost all approaches to school health promotion. But there are also approaches that specifically focus on psychosocial health.

In the case of psychosocial health promotion and prevention measures, the priorities are, for example

  • to students with pre-existing mental health problems,
  • on preventing (or reducing) psychosocial impairments in children and adolescents at risk, or
  • to promote the psychosocial health of all students.

General information on this can be found under Health Promotion in School.

Strengthen life skills

Those influencing factors that promote favorable development despite adverse circumstances are called protective factors. They protect by reducing the negative effects of risk factors. These protective factors in children and young people include, for example, competence in dealing with problems, social relationships and identification with the school (e.g. a sense of belonging). Promoting psychosocial health in children and adolescents can increase resilience (resistance to negative influences).

The focus here is often on strengthening so-called life skills. It is intended to increase resilience and thus make it possible to cope with difficult life situations. Life skills include communication, self-assertion, empathy, critical thinking, self-reflection or stress management. The approach to optimize life skills is effective in terms of:

  • Promoting positive social adaptation,
  • Improving school performance or
  • Coping with aggression.

Good school climate to feel good

A positive school climate strengthens well-being. When burdens and negative stress accumulate in the school environment, it has been proven that this is a burden for students. The school climate can be improved by measures in the field of promoting psychosocial health, for example by introducing rules of conduct or opportunities to help shape the environment. Offers on conflict and crisis management for schoolchildren with special needs are just as important as they are recommended. Strengthening the life skills of all people in the school environment plays an essential role in creating and maintaining a good school atmosphere. Support for teaching staff can be helpful, for example in the form of supervision or coaching.

For information on violence and bullying in schools, see Bullying & Violence in School.

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