Mental health was not given due importance in the past. Although over the years, there has been a change towards how it is perceived. Now, it has become an integral part of our conversations. The necessity grew during COVID-19 when people faced grave mental health problems while coping with the pandemic.
In light of this, children were the most vulnerable. Prolonged school closures gave rise to online classes glued to the screens for hours on end. While the internet has its positives, there are glaring disadvantages as well. Many missed out on lessons as they did not have a stable internet connection.
The pandemic shed light on disparities that existed but were invisible to the naked eye. According to India Today, the World Health Organisation (WHO) states that one in six children and teenagers aged between 10-19 years suffer from depression. For students in Class 10 and 12, such tough times have only added to their uncertainty about the future, making them anxious and stressed.
Better late than never, India has understood the magnitude of the problem. Since 2020, the Central government has developed ways to tackle this. It launched a nationwide programme to train and sensitize school teachers to detect early warning signs of mental health issues and help young children cope with it and help them.
Not only that, several other initiatives are taking the mental health conversation in the right direction. An example of this is an Edutech software called 'Campus 365'. The Enterprise Resource Software (ERP) is based out of Gurgaon and runs by three friends, namely Mayank Singh and Sandeep Verma.
Modernizing India's Education Infrastructure
The innovative startup is bridging the gap between the country's education system and the mediums of practical education. Not only that, 'Campus 365' wants to help parents in meeting all the necessary needs that are essential in their child's education. Right from managing the fee payments to lightening the students' load, they have come up with ways to modernize schooling procedures in the best way possible.
One of its many defining features is a 'Mood Tracking' Software. As the name suggests, it measures a child's mood at regular intervals to help examine their mental health conditions and take appropriate steps to mitigate any problems. "Mood Tracker feature is used to keep a record of a student's mood at regular intervals. This type of tool aims to help look for patterns in how moods vary over time and due to different situations and circumstances. This helps parents get a comprehensive report of their child moods, allowing more focus on the child," Campus 365's co-founder and CEO, Mayank Singh, tells The Logical Indian.
For school students, coping with severe mental health issues can be daunting. During COVID-19, frequent school closures had a detrimental impact on young children. Singh adds, "Some children will have dealt well with restrictions and school closures caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. For others, it is challenging to cope with all the changes and uncertainty. Some children will return to school having experienced some level of stress, anxiety, isolation and grief. Some may have experienced increased violence at home."
As many states are gearing up to reopen schools and colleges, it has become all the more imperative for educational institutions to work together and ensure a student's well-being. "School teachers and personnel are critical in supporting children's transition back to in-person classroom learning, particularly after extended periods of school closure. This will encourage teachers to use different skills and methods that were incorporated earlier during the online classes," explains the CEO.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy And Five Easy Steps
Campus 365's Mood Tracking software uses different aspects from Cognitive Behavioural Therapy to help students navigate their mental health problems. According to the theory mentioned above, it aims to help people identify the negative thoughts plaguing their minds and, in turn, replace them with a more realistic, objective and positive trajectory of ideas.
Mayank Singh further explains the five steps in examining the students' mental health patterns. They are Wellness Assessment, Self-Help Therapy, Wellness Tools, Tracking the Progress by Mood Heatmap and Regular Assessments to help both parents and students in the process.
Under the Self-Help Therapy step, informative courses help children and parents understand the problem better. Singh gave an example of a course explaining 'Depression', where the questions covered were 'What is Depression?', 'What causes Depression', and an introductory course to the Mood Tracking software. "Our interactive, self-help tools use elements of Cognitive Behavior Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and Mindfulness. From passive engagement to high intensity, there is something for everyone," he elucidates his point.
In addition to this, Campus 365 has come up with innovative ways that assist students in keeping their mental health at bay by tracking their daily activities in school. "While using the software, students are encouraged to schedule pleasurable social activities. After they have completed them, they use a tool called 'Fun and Achievement Tracker' to understand how certain activities can boost or decrease their feelings of happiness, fun and achievement," Mayank Singh continues his conversation with The Logical Indian.
Along with that, children can speak to their counsellors according to their calendars. They will learn about positive and negative thinking styles that help them understand their current struggles. Also, they are encouraged to indulge in meditation and other self-relaxation activities in what they call a 'Zen Room'.
Tracking Mood Of Children
Mental Health is a complex topic to navigate through. Issues like anxiety, depression, stress, and many others are to be understood completely to suggest a healthy to work through them. Therefore, the Campus 365 team took necessary notes and incorporated them. Singh adds, "We reached out to a Bangalore based organization that helps in counselling parents. They helped us in setting up the feature's logic as well as the parameters a parent should track and must be aware of about their child's mental health."
Before the official introduction, a trial run was done with 2000 students and their parents. Mayank Singh recalls that they loved the software as it facilitated faster and easier learning without added stress or pressure. "Delhi Public School is utilizing the software for better learning. Before the passing rate of 10th Class was 96.8%, but after onboarding Campus 365, the passing rate showed an amazing jump and reached 99.2%," he told The Logical Indian.
Until now, over 1000 schools and over 4 lakh students are availing of Campus 365's services as they can keep their mental health problems at bay. As the solutions vary from student to student, it bridges the gap between children and parents.
As schools are reopening, it has become more critical for the administration to facilitate a positive environment for children. It has not been easy for them to cope with the pandemic's difficulties. Therefore, the software aims to make it easier to bridge this gap in a modern way.
Along with this, it eases the difficulty of opening up to parents about acute mental health issues. However, such innovative softwares are only helping to take the conversation further in a fruitful direction. "With this feature, we can enable Schools to get an overview of the child's mental health. This will enable schools & teachers to focus more on students as well as provide a better in-school environment in which they will be more comfortable boosting the learning capabilities of a student," Singh concludes.
Also Read: COVID-19 Pandemic Disrupted Mental Health Services In 93% Countries: WHO