Early Identification of At-risk Students
Schools should follow the principle of “early identification and support” when helping at-risk students. Schools need to maintain close communication with parents and encourage them to provide information on the medical history of the students concerned, so that prompt intervention and support could be provided. Meanwhile, teachers should observe the daily performance of students and pay attention to the following signs:
- declining grades which are not commensurate with students’ usual performance
- frequent or prolonged absenteeism
- lack of focus on school work and routine tasks
- emotional and/or behavioural problems over a sustained period of time
- fatigue and tiredness over a period of time
- irritability, or emotional ups and downs
- withdrawal from relationships
- social isolation
Since each student may have individual differences when displaying the symptoms, teachers need to attend to the daily behaviours and characteristics of the student in order to stay alert to changes. If teachers suspect that any of their students might have mental health problems, they could consult the professionals of the school (e.g. school social worker and educational psychologist) and refer those students for appropriate professional support services as necessary.
For more information on early identification of at-risk students, please refer to the Guidelines on “How Schools can Help Students with Mental Health Problems”.