How Can Education Improve Mental Health & Well-being?

Oct 12 / Katherine Gray
In this week’s blog article, I am talking about how your online course can transform lives by improving outcomes for better psychological health. I have believed for many years that, humans as creative beings, have an innate desire to paint, draw, play music and discover new knowledge. We are evolved to be lifelong learners; and I am not just talking about academic subjects.

The Global pandemic thrust populations worldwide into psychological distress, with uncertainty and confusion about the future. Human beings are neurologically ‘hardwired’ to need certainty – the brain is constantly ‘on the alert’ and looking for information to keep us safe. Without safety and security, the amygdala, the brains fight or flight centre becomes distressed.

Persistent low level stress impacts upon the physiological state and over time can reduce healthy immune function.

On a more humanistic level, Maslow (1943), concludes that humans need fundamental physiological and psychological needs to be met to be able to move to the next levels of equilibrium and self-actualization. 
Mental health is still very much stigmatised and individuals who experience low to moderate levels of anxiety and depression may not seek help as often this is something they do not recognise as needing or they may feel that a mental health setting is too frightening a prospect (mentalhealth.org.uk)

How Can Your Online Course Transform Lives?

Access to education through online courses means that an individual can learn about a subject wherever they are in the world with just a laptop and decent internet connection. Many online course providers now include mobile capability for the delivery of their content to students.

The Human Givens approach which combines the biological, psychological and sociological factors to proposes that all humans have the ‘givens’ to be able to overcome psychological trauma and associated distress (HGI.org)

A fieldwork study conducted in 2007, found that engaging in lifelong learning was beneficial for a plethora of health outcomes; overall well-being, the recovery and psychological protection from mental health challenges, enhancing the coping abilities for stressful situations which included enhanced resilience in dealing with the onset of debilitating ill-health and disability (Hammond, C. 2007).

So how we, as experts in our field of knowledge enhance psychological wellbeing and empower individuals to self-actualise? The findings of a recent study were that education improves memory function, furthermore, it was found to significantly reduce depression (Crespo et al. 2014).

Your expertise can be converted into an online course that brings many of the psychological benefits discussed in these studies. I have always believed that knowledge is power and that free access to education can change the world. Often, subjects taught at academic institutions are not always accessible to individuals who do not satisfy entry criteria. I am on a mission to change that, as I believe that if an individual has the desire to learn a subject, then there is no reason they cannot. The key is to teach it in a way that is engaging, informative, interactive and ‘chunked down’ it will empower and not overwhelm the learner.
The secret here is in the curriculum mapping and purposeful use of educational and psychological theories to deliver that knowledge.

If you want to know more about how you can take your expertise and convert it into a successful and transformational online course, then why not sign up to my live taught course creation program.

October special offer at 10% off – quote OCT10 at checkout.

References: About The Human Givens Approach: https://www.hgi.org.uk/human-givens/about-human-givens-approach

Crespo, et al. (2014). Compulsory schooling, education, depression and memory: New evidence from SHARELIFE, Economics of Education Review, Volume 43, 2014, Pages 36-46, ISSN 0272-7757, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.econedurev.2014.09.003. (https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0272775714000892)

Hammond, C. (2004). Impacts of lifelong learning upon emotional resilience, psychological and mental health: fieldwork evidence, Oxford Review of Education, 30:4, 551-568, DOI: 10.1080/0305498042000303008

Mental Health Foundation (2011). Learning for Life: Adult Learning, Mental Health & Wellbeing.  https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/sites/default/files/learning-for-life.pdf
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