Many reasons a child may undergo a mental health crisis hospitalization. From dealing with grief after a loved one’s death to severe anxiety, students often need extra help to manage their mental health. Afterward, it can be challenging to return to everyday life.
Teachers can help students adjust after they return to school. Patience and a consistent structure can go a long way toward assisting students in feeling normal again. In addition, by learning about what to expect, teachers can find ways to help their students.
What Teachers Should Know About a Mental Health Crisis Hospitalization
As students return to school from a mental health hospitalization, everyone needs to be realistic about their expectations. Even though the student has left the hospital, they are likely still experiencing some of the feelings and factors that initially led to their hospitalization.
Students may be hospitalized because of suicidal ideation or self-harm. In addition, they may experience a mental health crisis due to anxiety, phobias, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), or another mental health condition. A hospital environment’s natural structure often helps to manage these conditions temporarily.
Once students return to school, providing them with a sense of routine and structure can be challenging. Students may be exposed to the same stressors that initially triggered the mental health crisis. Even when everyone does everything right, setbacks can prevent progress and must be dealt with patiently.
How to Prepare for and Care for Students Upon Their Return
The most important thing is to offer empathy and patience upon a student’s return from hospitalization. No one recovers from a mental health crisis overnight, so teachers can expect the student’s recovery to take time. However, teachers can help students by providing them with a safe space.
Teachers should allow students to visit them at any time to create a safe space. If the teacher is unavailable, the student should have another teacher or staff member they can see as a backup option. Teachers should also check in with the student at regular intervals.
Other than showing empathy, teachers can also help by communicating with parents and other staff members. Some staff members may be unfamiliar with mental health problems, which can impede their ability to help. Teachers can make the student’s transition a little easier by raising awareness and educating staff members.
Privacy issues involve talking to staff members, so teachers should only share need-to-know information. They should also talk to family members about information sharing. The student may also benefit from creating a 504 plan with the school for managing their mental illness.
Family members are a vital part of the student’s recovery so that teachers can communicate with them as much as possible. They can alert loved ones if the student seems to be struggling again and ask for advice. In addition, teachers can help students access all the school’s mental health resources.
Before the student returns to school, teachers can arrange a pre-return meeting with the parents. During the meeting, parents and teachers can discuss which assignments must be done and when the student will officially return. If the student needs the school day shortened or other modifications, this meeting is an excellent opportunity to discuss potential changes.
Discover Mental Health Programs for Your Student
Many people deal with mental health crises at some point in their lifetime. To recover, you need to get the help you need. A supportive community and mental health programs significantly impact an individual’s recovery.
By offering support for various mental health services for youth, the San Antonio Behavioral Healthcare Hospital can help. To learn more about our services, you can call us today at 210-541-5300 or visit our website for more information.