Schools from primary to higher education should have psychologists not only to assist students but also teachers and other staff members because one’s behaviour can affect the entire community.
Besides, a school is a place where most people discover themselves; get their abilities, their talents developed, learn to be competitive and create relationships with new people.
Spending time at school, can be a wonderful experience for some students while others dread the entire day from the moment they wake up until they return home.
A senior 3 student who spoke to us recently, narrated awful experiences he went through over being around people with whom he could not easily socialize.
“I tried day school, I tried boarding school but none of those options helped me get over the anxiety I had every time I went to school,” he said.
As he says, parents did not hear his concerns and called it laziness whenever he put forward his case.
“My parents would call me lazy, but I was not lazy. I did not feel like I fit in school, not with my classmates. I felt like every teacher was out to get me and I concentrated on that so much that studying was hard for me,” he said.
The young man says that he was able to focus on his studies and felt more confident only after his sister found him a therapist who walked him through what he was feeling.
Some give up on schools not because they are failing in school but because they are unable to handle everything else that comes with it. Most of the time, they will get judged and taunted to go back to school.
To find a durable solution, it is also important to consider the mental health of a teacher, professor or lecturer.
Most of the time, we forget that they are humans too, to avoid or reduce the stress that comes from their personal, mixed with their professional life especially if they are in the classroom. This is where a psychologist gets involved in this situation to direct the educator on how to handle it, so it does not control the way they deal with the students.
Psychologists are not only involved in psychology or therapy but are also trained to assess and conduct formal psychological tests.
According to trainee psychologist, Atheane Faye; having psychologists at schools would be of great significance to schools however expensive it is to provide counseling, trauma or grief support.
“Often in Africa, there are a lot of financial restrictions. People do not have enough money. However, if the child is able to get this as a service offered by the school, it can make such a huge difference in the child’s life because this can be the only time that child will ever have access to a psychologist,” she said.