WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. – As the new school year begins, the Navajo Nation Division of Behavioral and Mental Health Services (DBMHS) encourages teachers, families, and communities to promote and support the mental health and wellness for all students by reinforcing positive protective factors and utilizing school, community, and tribal resources. Mental Health is an individual’s psychological and emotional well-being. Having and maintaining a healthy mind is as important as physical health.

According to the 2011 Navajo Youth Risk Behavior Survey Report, 31.1% of Middle School students indicated their “parents or other adults in their family are never or rarely involved with their education, such as helping with homework or projects, volunteering, fund raising, participating in the parent-teacher organization and/or parent advisory committee.”

Students achieve better educational outcomes when schools, families, and communities work together to support student learning, according to the National Education Association. When parents, families, and communities are linked to school and classroom activities, academic achievement improves, and students are more likely to view school as important.

Academic workloads and social aspects of school can put stress on a student’s mental health. It is important that parents, families, and communities support being involved in their student’s education and mental wellness. Here are some examples of how families can support and strengthen education and mental health:

  1. Enhance self-confidence by supporting individuality and provide positive affirmations
  2. Build motivation by providing positive reinforcement, encourage students to be excited about learning, and encourage effort
  3. Identify goals with your child and assist them in helping to achieve these goals
  4. Reinforce study skills by providing an environment in which the child/student is comfortable and supported
  5. Develop responsibility by ensuring that your child/student is aware of their tasks (i.e. homework assignments, projects) and assist them in developing strategies to ensure all tasks are completed in a timely manner.
  6. When homework and projects are given, assist the child when they ask for help by reviewing homework assignments and helping with corrections, in a positive manner.
  7. Encourage participation in extracurricular activities in and outside of school.
  8. Encourage self-care practices and activities to help to manage future stressors in a healthy way.

Navajo Nation Division of Behavioral and Mental Health Services wish all students, parents, teachers, and school personnel a positive and successful school year. We want to remind everyone to make your mental health a priority and to support others in their mental wellness.