“Health does not always come from medicine. Most of the time it comes from peace of mind, peace in the heart, peace on the soul. It comes from laughter and love.”
Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices.
In our scholarship program, the Psychosocial and Health program deals with mental health concerns of our scholars. Mental health is still an under-resourced area in our country, so we do our best to closely monitor our scholars in order to address their mental health issues. Knowing that the scholars largely spend their time in school, we work in partnership with the school matrons, patrons, and nurses to assure that they support and report on any changes that may be portrayed through the thinking, mood and behavior of our scholars.
Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood. Most issues from our scholars are evident in the adolescent stage where teenagers go through the “identity crisis” phase of searching and looking for themselves to see where they fit in and belong. For some teens, this stage becomes a struggle, as they have difficulty understanding the changes their bodies are going through or have not achieved the sense of self-identity they need to move forward.
We address issues by having one on one consultations with the teachers and care-takers at school, but also by talking and counseling the scholar. Some cases require us to call on the guardians so that it is a collective effort between the school, TFFT and guardians at home. In certain cases when scholars go against school rules, they are disciplined by the school and also face the consequences of their actions, depending on the code of conduct.
However, we have close conversations with the scholars on emotional health and address any issues that may be an obstacle even before the occurrence of misbehavior in school or at home. During positive parenting seminars we also insist on the importance of guardians and caregivers being on the watch of their children’s mental well-being knowing the magnitude of its effects on their academics and life in general.
TFFT works hand in hand with other mental health care providers to ensure that scholars are physically and mentally fit. We have worked with Arusha Mental Health Trust and Hope Counseling Center for scholars to access the help they need and have seen great developments and results.
As we celebrate World Mental Health Day, TFFT would like to thank our partners who make it possible for us to provide holistic care for our scholars and in so doing ensuring their mental well-being.