Enhance spiritual support for students and members of staff

Star of the Sea Primary School

Pupils at Star of the Sea Primary School in Mombasa in prayers after reporting back to school on October 12, 2020.


Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • The adverse effects of Covid-19 to schools has seen some teachers changing their careers, temporarily venturing into informal businesses.
  • The family, schools and the church are key in supporting children and adults in dealing with symptoms of psychosocial and spiritual challenges.

The Covid-19 pandemic together with the lost academic year has presented teachers and learners with a myriad of psychosocial and spiritual challenges that demand attention if meaningful teaching and learning are to take place in the learning institutions. This has affected their mental health and behaviour patterns.

In this context, there is need for psychosocial support to help individual staff and learners cope with stressors at home, school or at work.

This refers to actions that address both psychological and social needs of individuals, families and communities.

The psychosocial distress has been brought about by heightened fear of Covid-19 and its impact, which leaves one powerless and in isolation.

The most affected individuals have been school administrators, teachers, support staff, learners and parents. This is owing to the financial crisis that has faced many, especially private schools.

The adverse effects of Covid-19 to schools has seen some teachers changing their careers, temporarily venturing into informal businesses.

Absentee parents

Others, due to lack of psychosocial support, fell into alcohol and drug abuse while some even committed suicide and homicide after losing hope in life.

On the other hand, learners have been stressed due to inability to participate in physical and online learning, having absentee parents, gender-based violence against care givers, negative peer pressure that has made some prone to drug abuse, pre-marital sex, pornography, teenage pregnancies, defilement and sodomy.

To manage the hard economic times presented by Covid-19, counsellors should be engaged in educating targeted individuals/ staff and learners about recovery as a spiritual journey with a potentially positive outcome.

This interventions are geared towards enhancing the wellness of all the staff in the learning institutions. They are also meant to provide adequate care and support (including referral where necessary) for learners and other persons who may face any psychosocial challenge

They should also endeavor to build children’s resilience and improve their psychosocial strength by bringing them closer to God while at the same time encouraging the school community to engage in religious practices including prayers, reading spiritual books and attending worship services.

Spiritual support

The target groups that require specialised psychosocial and spiritual support include girls who are pregnant or have recently given birth and those who have carried out abortion; boys who may have been sodomised and girls sexually abused; boys and girls who have witnessed violence, loss of jobs of their caregivers/parents and siblings; children who have been engaged in gangs and sexual abuse, forced marriages and FGM and school staff and other adults.

Although the focus is on education stakeholders, anyone can suffer from psychosocial problems at any given time in their lives. This is not a sign of weakness or failure.

The intensity of these symptoms vary from one individual to another. The earlier the individual (staff/ learner) deals with their symptoms and their root cause, the better.

The family, schools and the church are key in supporting children and adults in dealing with symptoms of psychosocial and spiritual challenges.

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