Content Creator: Shekinah Glory Peter
Content Editor: Ratan Ravichandran
Designer: Elsa Aziz
I’m stressed, mentally drained
Approaching the end of my academic journey comes with much anxiety about the future
It’s strange how we are expected to have a path we wish to follow, despite having no guidance
We have not stopped being children - children in need of guidance
At home, it’s worse
The strain of caring for my sick mother
The part-time minimum wage job
I’ve always had to parent myself
I’ve always had to teach myself
Additionally, I belong to a marginalized group
I see the effects bigotry has on people like me
I’ve lived the sexual violence that is familiar to too many women
I’m still in the closet for I fear what comes with being out of it
I have no guidance
I have no help
School has taught me nothing
Isn’t the point of school to guide students and prepare them for the world?
Or is it just about getting As? ‘cause I’ve got that covered
The mental strain causes students to resort to harmful practices
They see the aggression, but not the pain
We need people to see us
We need you to guide us
We need help
We are children who need help.
This is the year 2021. In over a year, I have been schooling virtually, and being away from school during the summer of 2020, helped me realize that I used school as an escape. My past trauma resurfaced and my ignorance about the oppression that faces people of my class dispersed. With the revelation came anger, sadness, and frustration. I decided to lead group therapy sessions at my school, which is pretty open to creating safe spaces for students. It was a pleasurable experience. Schools cannot control the homes we come from, but they can control the place we are required to go to for at least 12 years of our lives. We should have therapists and safe spaces at school; it should be our refuge.
Content Creator: Agnas Ann
Content Editor: Ayisha Farah
Designer: Halima Asif
“To keep the body in good health is a duty…otherwise, we shall not be able to keep the mind strong and clear.”
A simple question to ourselves: do we try to take care of our physical well-being? What about our mental wellness?
Do we take care of it? Almost 70% of mental health disorders are addressed in children and can be intervened during the early stage, which is during their educational process.
In India, poor awareness about the symptoms of mental illness, stigma, and the lack of mental health services available has resulted in a massive treatment gap, with inadequate numbers of trained mental health care professionals resulting in a decline in the long term and short term treatment.
Even in China, the rate of mental health cases has increased in the past few years. Their desire for treatment has been hindered by their social norms and their religious and social beliefs, while the government is trying to expand its resources for improving the mental health of the citizens.
The WHO estimates that close to 20%, or one in five students, actively treat and deal with a mental health issue. the number of students whose mental health has been deteriorating in the past few coming years
Both physical and mental health should be adequately treated. However, mental health has been stereotyped and looked down upon in our society. If you take a break from school or work due to breaking bones is fine, but due to stress from your mental health, anxiety, or depression, it is usually said to them that ‘they are lazy’ or ‘it's all your thoughts, not serious’. but a question to us: Are they?
Untreated mental illnesses are becoming increasingly common across the globe.
Long term mental issues like imposter syndrome could have been prevented if they received support from society, mainly proper guidance from their educational institutions, educators, and their parents. These could have been prevented from a long life struggle if the foundation on mental wellness was laid properly, that is, addressing mental health in educational institutions.
Where do kids get the idea of using drugs, the idea of suicide, criticizing and judging mostly from school?
Fashion trends, styles, and new trends are the main topic among students. Not that everyone participates in this. Keeping up with the trends that are changing every day results in a lack of notice in their mental health, and ones who don’t participate are insulted and mocked around for their way of dress sense. Students not being able to cope with homework and assignments due to a lack of the idea to complete them or have a great idea to convey them.
Our world is competitive in all fields. Even the educational field is competitive, and students neglect their health for getting into college to secure life. The stress caused and on not getting or being able to complete leads to depression.
Educational institutions should not only make them book smart but also make them face real-life situations. For example, a student who scored fully in their academics won’t have the idea to face an interview board and fail placement interviews. Every recruiters, schools, and college need smart and unique ones. This itself is pressure. The most energetic period is the life we spent in educational institutions. A stage where the foundation of what is right or wrong, positive and negative support should be laid, a place where mental challenges are placed. The pandemic covid-19 has caused even more stress on students. they are not able not to understand the classes, are scared for their future, not able to meet their deadlines and how and when will their exams be conducted
Initiatives that can be taken in every educational institution:
“Everyone has its battle with mental health we all should respect and help them rather than criticizing them”
What about the educators?
We can see that teachers’ mental health has been deteriorating as their concern for their job security during the economic crisis in the pandemic. The constant worry of the family and the short period for completing the needs that should reach the deadline has added stress.
Teachers are trained to monitor signs such as trauma, anxiety, and all they know about the hidden threat to their mental health. We live in a place where competition has risen, all the parents want their kids to be on the top. They pressurize the educator as they consider it is the teacher’s capabilities that result in the kid’s score. Still, they forget that they are also an individual who has their battle with mental stress.
We often talk about the students’ mental wellness, and we forget about the teachers. Even they do feel stressed like us. During this pandemic, they teach students they have never seen or interacted with before, amidst the stress of meeting the work deadlines, they are awarded trolls and memes. They have never shown us their vulnerable side.
The institution should promote mental wellness for students and consider the mental health of the educators.
Some ways that educators can take care of their mental wellness:
Content Creator: Megna Rajagopal
Content Editor: Aswathy Dinesh
Designer: Halima Asif
“Not many people understand it or are aware of it. I think since ‘Taare Zameen Par’ (a Hindi film) was released, Indian's have started accepting it as a condition. Or else children are not able to explain what they see or what they experience. But even now, not many parents or adults acknowledge or even consider a child having dyslexia. There might be parents who think their child just isn't working hard enough,” says Anam Qureshi
Dyslexia is by far the most prevalent learning disability. It is most commonly linked to reading difficulties, but it may also impact writing, spelling, and speaking. It may be challenging to express oneself or completely comprehend what others are saying.
Anam wasn't born with dyslexia, she developed it during her on-going pregnancy. When asked how her day-to-day life is, she says, “I sit down intending to read a book and/or a website. But while reading, when I think I am concentrating, the words or sentences start mixing on top of each other or getting foggy. Then I need to change my position so I can reconcentrate.”
She says that she often has difficulty reading fluently. This may have an influence on how well she understands what she is reading. She deals with her learning disability by thinking she can listen to a podcast or audiobook. But she zones out and does not process anything. Even if she tries to repeat this, the same thing happens, and eventually, she gives up.
“Mostly try to keep your mind and thoughts free if you really want to read or concentrate on something. Even a minor distraction around or in your head might be the reason," says Anam.
“It is more common than you can imagine. You are not alone. And while you will have this the rest of your life, you can dart between the raindrops to get where you want to go and it will not hold you back.”~Steven Spielberg
It is essential to understand that, while dyslexia affects learning, it is not a problem with intelligence. Those with dyslexia are equally as intelligent as their peers.
Gnanaprasanna Sriram is a thirty two year old who was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy.
Cerebral palsy is not a learning disability. However, it is possible some individuals with cerebral palsy have a learning disability. The cause of cerebral palsy could be a brain injury that occurs before, during, or immediately after birth, such as a lack of oxygen or sickness.
She had Coloboma iris, because of which she has had to wear glasses since she was nine months old. A coloboma is a defect in the eye's iris. It might appear as a black notch along the pupil's edge with variable depths, giving the pupil an uneven shape.
However, nothing stopped her from achieving her goals. She attended Vidya Sagar's special needs school and participated in the Abilympics competition conducted once every four years. She went for the International round for painting in the Czech Republic and bagged first and won a gold medal.
There was a lot of discouragement from people around her, but she now holds a double degree in BSc. Nutrition Dietetics and Bsc. Multimedia. She says that her parents are her pillars of strength. Her parents provided her with all the support she needed and traveled with her far and wide so that she wouldn't miss out on anything.
"If you can dream it, you can do it."~ Walt Disney
She always followed her dreams, and her story enlightens and uplifts everyone reading it.
The purpose of these interviews was to create awareness about learning disabilities. To help people who are going through the same problems relate and understand what they are going through. And most importantly, remember that you are not alone!
Content Creator: Manasi Patil
Content Editor: Safa Sajith
Designer: Halima Asif
You teach us maths,
And human science.
You teach us skills,
And working of minds.
You teach us languages,
And wonders of the universe.
You impact us,
You bloom us,
You cherish us,
You make us.
You fill us
With everything you have,
Up to the brim
And then some more.
You lend us
Every shred of light,
Brightening us up
Dispelling the darkness.
You enrich our minds
You make our worries weigh less.
You are there to talk
To unburden our load.
But, there’s always a catch.
With each cup you give us,
You have an empty one.
With each light you share,
Darkness engulfs you.
You willingly welcome our problems
Making your thoughts cluttered.
There’s always a key!
Take a break from the world
Close your eyes
And enjoy life
Feel the breeze
Listen to the music of nature’s hum.
Take a break from seeing the world,
Content Creator: Ananya Anindita
Content Editor: Ratan Ravichandran
Blog Designer: Nirvan Bajracharya
“Health is wealth”, do you remember writing it on your classroom boards as the quote of the day? You probably do. It is one of the most preached proverbs in schools. Now, health encompasses both physical and mental well-being. And teachers have been doing their best to ensure that we are healthy both physically and mentally. But what about them? Do they get to practice what they preach? Let’s see.
There is this incredibly famous adage from George Bernard Shaw’s ‘Maxims for Revolutionaries’, “He who can, does. He who can’t, teaches”. This statement is widely accepted. Teachers at primary and secondary schools, in particular, are viewed as people who lack imaginative thoughts, or have a drive to do something and thus have resorted to teaching. Teaching is frequently portrayed as an easy, carefree profession with flexible working hours and long holidays. However, is that actually true? Imagine a classroom filled with 20-30 kids. Each kid with a unique learning capability, mentality and IQ. and, you are the one responsible to bring out the best in each and every one of them. The mere thought of it is enough to stress me out! Furthermore, teachers are trained to look out for the socio-emotional well being of their students. They are trained to identify anxiety, bullying, depression, and other microaggressive symptoms. Yet, they are still hesitant to talk about or express their own mental health.
You cannot pour from an empty cup, so look after yourself first.
To begin with, we live in an extremely competitive society . Everyone wants their child to be at the top, win accolades and that is precisely how a teacher’s worth/capability is determined; by how much a child scores. This overwhelming pressure can be quite exhausting at times, especially for those who are new to this field. There occurs a constant mental battle as to how they can make learning easier and better for the kids. Even though they get off work earlier than others, they spend their time preparing question papers, marking answer sheets, and planning the lectures for the next day while keeping in mind their diverse class.
In addition, there is the conception that educators have to be strong since they are role models for children. There is also growing competition in the field to pose as good role models for students. As a result, they are expected to be optimistic, understanding and happy 24/7. Yes, they recognise that interacting with children is like walking on thin ice, but we must also remember that instructors are human beings. They too have their bad days. They have their vulnerable moments as well. Honestly, as a student I would really appreciate it if my teachers showed their vulnerable side to us. Such expressions can be a form of consolation for students. Telling them that it is okay to be weak at times, to be emotional and true to yourself.
Another pertinent point is, the disruptive student behaviour. As we grow older, we have all experienced at least one class where we could not bring ourselves to pay attention, the whole class was riotous and we never paid heed to what the teacher taught. It is not uncommon to encounter a lot of teenagers having a little or no respect for their teachers. These kids can make teaching extremely difficult for teachers and then go ahead to criticize them for not being able to do so adequately. This behaviour has worsened over the course of the pandemic.
The pandemic! The pandemic has not been easy on anyone. Work from home has added stress to daily life. Students have been complaining about their mental health being affected (quite rightly so). Meanwhile, educational institutions have delegated all obligations to instructors for some reason. Many teachers have had to learn how to conduct classes using Zoom, Google Meet, and other similar programmes. However, there are instances of students misusing this shortcoming of teachers. For example, giving meeting access to outsiders to come and disturb the class. In addition a number of difficulties they face can be:economic
1. Teaching a class through a screen, where they have no clue whether the students are listening understanding or grasping the concept,
2. Trying to make lectures interesting while handling the deadlines,
3. Attending to confused students and parents even after online school hours
Teachers are still concerned about their job security as a result of the economic downturn; they are constantly concerned about their and their families’ health along with the health of their students and, to add to all those we got memes. A study conducted in the US found out that during the pandemic, teachers were more likely to report feeling stressed and burned out than other state and local government-sector employees. A national poll in the US states that 1 in 3 teachers have decided to retire rather than return to the classroom. And what are we doing about that? Nothing.
Lastly, but most importantly, the lack of teacher counselling concept in schools is alarming. A school counsellor is found in almost every accredited institution. But, the concept of them counselling teachers is completely unheard of. The above-listed arguments have definitely provided us with more and more reasons as to why counselling should be provided to teachers as well. Creating support groups within the schools for teachers is a much needed step. Recognition of the fact that some cultural groups might be in need of extra support, like the lgbtq group or the black community, is very necessary.
In conclusion, everyone acknowledges and admits teachers to be an extremely integral and impertinent part of the society. However, we have failed them when it comes to their mental health. A study conducted in England and Wales shows a positive association of teacher’s mental wellbeing to that of the students. Therefore, let us do our best to provide them with support, help and most importantly; respect. In the words of Todd Whitaker;
“The best thing about being a teacher is that it matters. The hardest thing about being a teacher is that it matters everyday.”
Content Creator: Aman Sahva
Content Editor: Aswathy Dinesh
Designer: Halima Asif
Take a look around this meadow called “ Earth”.
You may spot bountiful white flowers and a few redbuds.
The red ones haven’t bloomed yet!
The late bloomers might be waiting-
to be etched by the warmth of the sun.
They will bloom and outshine,
ever luminous than the rest.
It’s a gargantuan task for a dyslexic-
to fish about in a dictionary.
Time is the best gift you can offer-
along with the warmth of aid.
A dysgraphic may not be proficient-
in written elucidations.
Befitting succor will polish grip,
regular margins and even spacing-
are part of the art of war.
Humongous numerals are dreadful and-
the worst enemy of a dyscalculic.
Crushing numerals and equations,
to reality and logic-
is the efficacious maneuver that avails.
Contrastingly beautiful redbuds,
may appear odd.
They don’t suffer,
Rather they strive and thrive with it.
The white flowers are bloomed and scented,
Yet I rather choose the red ones!
What about you?
Content Creator: Megna Rajagopal
Content Editor: Safa Sajith
Designer: Elsa Aziz
Learning disabilities have no bearing on a person's intelligence. Instead, a person with a learning disability may simply see, hear, or comprehend things in a new light. As a result of which regular activities such as studying for exams or remaining attentive in school, might become considerably difficult.
What is a Learning Disability?
A learning disability is a condition that impairs a person's capacity to receive and process information. For those with learning disabilities, skills such as doing math, reading, writing or even interpreting directions could be difficult.
Many children with learning disorders (also known as learning disabilities) experience difficulty in school before they can be diagnosed. This might have a negative impact on a child's self-confidence.
What are the types of Learning Disabilities?
Learning Disabilities: Signs
Learning Disabilities: Treatment
Concerning education, to help a child overcome his/her learning challenges, an expert can provide effective learning techniques. They require emotional support and empathy to feel good about themselves. Psychological counselling may be beneficial to children and their families.
Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
ADHD affects around 20% of children with learning disabilities. However, it is important to note that ADHD is not a learning disability. Some of the symptoms, though, may be mistaken for those of a learning disability. Several areas of learning can be affected by ADHD. The symptoms:
According to studies, a substantial proportion of individuals who have been diagnosed with a learning disability face bullying or discrimination at some point in their lives. Nevertheless, there has been considerable improvement. Thanks to the efforts of those with learning disorders, their families, and non-profit organizations. And there is still much that could be done.
Here is a reader's take on how society impacts a person with a learning disorder
“I think the major setback for her is the one she doesn't address as such. She hears about all of our cousins as well as her own brother graduating school, studying for college and working and eventually getting married.
She is 23 and has her own dreams and wants to follow the same path but that isn't possible with her disorder as she has a different level of learning. She definitely feels excluded.
There is scope for change when it comes to how society treats her, although she is a special needs person, she is still an adult and needs to be respected.” ~ Anonymous
“I feel like an important aspect of dyslexia is its persistent nature. Even though the major impact of dyslexia is in the initial phase of the language acquisition process, some difficulties may persist through adulthood if appropriate intervention isn't given at the right phase." ~ says Vaishnavi Krishna, a speech-language pathologist who works with patients having learning disorders.
Another reader tells us how their friend's ADHD feels and how to support people struggling with it
“A close friend of mine has ADHD, and he struggles with this on a daily basis. I know it isn’t easy for him to concentrate on his studies, so he tends to fidget a lot. If you notice someone doing this, just be mindful of the fact that they could be struggling with ADHD or ADD. To support someone with ADHD, you could research about its symptoms and what happens to your friend/loved one.
If you notice them tapping their feet a lot or fidgeting with their hands, don’t ask them to stop, as it is a coping mechanism. Be their body-double - help them stay focused on their work, this can help you as well. Finally, just remember, people with ADHD have so many talents, they have great long-term memory and are so intelligent and curious. They’re struggling but barely complain about it. So try to be careful of what you say to them and be as comforting as you can.” ~ Anonymous