Instructional Research on Mental Health Education for College Students from the Perspective of Positive Psychology
Ji Li
Yancheng Teachers University, Yancheng, China.
DOI: 10.4236/psych.2020.111004   PDF    HTML   XML   1,115 Downloads   2,648 Views   Citations


With the development of The Times, the changes that the objects, forms and contents of mental health education in universities have been witnessed each passing day. Keeping pace with The Times and improve working forms and methods to adapt to these changes is a must, which deals with the emerging problems of mental health that college students have been confronted. Meanwhile, we should renew our ideas and try to develop college students’ mental health education with various methods. Positive psychology focuses on people’s positive cognitive processing, positive emotional experience and positive attitudes towards society, and emphasizes the important role of positive psychological qualities such as optimism, hope, happiness, social responsibility and altruistic behavior. This paper mainly analyzes the problems in the mental health education of college students from the perspective of positive psychology, and puts forward scientific and effective suggestions on the adjustment of mental health education of college students.

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Li, J. (2020) Instructional Research on Mental Health Education for College Students from the Perspective of Positive Psychology. Psychology, 11, 49-53. doi: 10.4236/psych.2020.111004.

1. Introduction

Mental health education is an important part of the education system in colleges and universities ( Liu et al., 2017). With the development in recent years, colleges and universities have gradually focused on improving the overall level of mental health education. However, in terms of the current development, there are still many deficiencies in mental health education. In the field of psychological health education of the past, the teaching goal of the colleges was how to eliminate the negative psychology of college students. With the development and improvement of the discipline of positive psychology, new ways and means have been created for the mental health education of college students. By virtue of the advantages and characteristics brought by positive psychology, colleges and universities should reform and innovate the mental health education to cultivate more healthy, progressive and high-quality talents.

2. Summary of Positive Psychology

The concept of positive psychology, after firstly proposed by the famous psychologist Seligman, began to be recognized and accepted by other psychologists and gradually expanded to form the positive psychology movement ( Zhang, 2014). At the beginning of the 21st century, with the rise of positive psychology in the west, experts and scholars in the field of education in China keep pace with the development of The Times and strive to explore a new model of mental health education for college students. In 2003, positive psychology: ideas and actions published by Professor Miao yuanjiang was the first academic paper with the topic of positive psychology, which has aroused the keen attention and extensive research of domestic scholars. Subsequently, more and more scholars in China devote themselves to the research of positive psychology. They introduce, adapt and study the related discussion and thoughts of positive psychology. In 2007, the first conference on positive mental health education was successfully held in Chengdu City, which promoted the development of positive psychology in China ( Qing & Cao, 2017). The main content of positive psychology is to study the positive power and quality of human beings, which is committed to the development of individuals and the prosperity of society. Positive psychology includes two meanings. On the one hand, it focuses on the exploration of people’s quality and strength to promote people’s all-round development. On the other hand, on the basis of promoting human development, positive psychology combined with social development emphasizes the common development of human and society.

3. Summary of Mental Health Education for College Students

The so-called mental health education for college students refers to a series of activities in which the school rationally uses the mental health theory and teaching methods to timely explain psychological problems to college students so as to ensure their mental health. Mental health education for college students is very important and special. Particularly, in the early stage of the formation of the World views, students themselves have a relatively complete cognition of the external world, which increases the difficulty coefficient of college students’ mental health education ( Seligman & Csikszentmihalyi, 2000). Differed from high school students, College students’ mental health education must be particular about systematicness and continuity, which increased the quantitative evaluation of specific education teaching achievements, became the main factor affecting college students’ mental health education activities and made activities focus on the form instead of the goal and significance of activities. Except for this point, there are other different obstacles in the innovation and reform of College Students’ mental health education.

4. The Main Problems in Mental Health Education of College Students

1) The concept of mental health education relatively lags behind

Educational idea is the forerunner of educational practice. Establishing apositive concept, mental health education should not only focus on helping students solve psychological problems, but also pay attention to explore their excellent psychological quality and to develop the good quality of life ( Schneider, 2001). Related research shows that the concept of mental health education in some colleges and universities has been relatively lagging behind. 55% of college students believe that the concept of mental health education is negative, while 86% believe that mental health education and psychological counseling activities are only suitable for students with psychological problems.

2) The content of mental health education is outdated

Mental health education should include rich contents, such as interpersonal relationship, emotion management, will training and so on. However, according to the survey, nearly 80% of college students believe that mental health education in schools focuses on the prevention and solution of students’ psychological problems ( Csikszentmihalyi, 2009). In practical teaching, most educators tend to enumerate psychological problems that students may encounter, then interpreting psychological phenomena, analyzing psychological problems and solving psychological problems, in order to equip students with the ability to solve their own problems in the future according to their own actual situation. Psychological publicity activities also incline to guide college students to pay attention to their own psychological problems, instead of combining their actual demand. This kind of outdated education content does not really improve students’ psychological quality, which makes mental health education fall into a passive situation.

3) The method of mental health education is unitary

Chinese scholars have proposed many feasible methods of mental health education in theoretical level, but in educational activities, some schools still adopt traditional and relatively single educational methods. Related researches show that 83% of colleges and universities which carry out the Psycho-Health Education by means of classroom teaching, special lectures, and psychological counseling. Only 25% of them operate online psychological counseling and services. Some colleges and universities simply set up fewer class hours in ideological and moral cultivation courses. The certain gap between mental health education courses and the formal curriculum construction requirements still exists. In terms of content setting, class arrangement, teaching forms, and other aspects.

5. Suggestions on Improving College Students’ Mental Health Education from the Perspective of Positive Psychology

1) Take positive psychology as the guidance to innovate the educational idea

The value orientation of positive psychology guides the return of mental health education in colleges and universities. The view of positive psychology, which focuses on cultivating positive psychological qualities, fully embodies the people-oriented concept, pays attention to the development of human potential and life happiness, and regards cultivating positive qualities of human beings as the fundamental goal, which is conducive to the harmonious coexistence between human beings and the society. Under the guidance of positive psychology, mental health education in colleges and universities will return to the final goal, to stimulate and cultivate students’ inner psychological quality, to cultivate positive sense of belonging and responsibility, and to equip people with social ability and good psychological state.

2) Innovative teaching content to improve college students’ positive emotional experience

The emphasis of positive psychology on the research of positive force makes the content of mental health education more in line with the needs of students and society. At present, the research of positive psychology mainly focuses on positive emotion, positive experience and positive personality characteristics. It takes an open view of everyone and promotes a healthy and happy life by cultivating and expanding the positive forces and qualities inherent in man. This is fully in line with individual development needs.

3) Innovative teaching methods to strengthen the practice teaching

Colleges and universities should firmly establish the thought of practical education, encourage and organize college students to carry out social practice closely combined with professional learning, provide practice bases for college students through school-enterprise cooperation, and combine theoretical teaching with situational practice. Through the development of the individuality and specialty of college students, accelerating their comprehension of knowledge and the promotion of systematic thinking, then cultivating their independent ability, exploration consciousness, creativity and practical spirit. To promote college students to realize self-education, self-management and self-development in activities and improve their ability to adapt to society. To guide and encourage college students to participate in public welfare services, work-study, and other meaningful activities, to urge them to report comment in the form of written reports, which make students understand the state, society, then they can objectively analyse the society in an all-round way, so as to set up the social competition consciousness and enterprising spirit, promote the thought and behavior to strengthen each other, enhance the positive emotion experience, so as to improve the psychological quality.

6. Conclusion

To sum up, as the pillars of the future of the country, whether college students have a positive psychology is directly related to the development of the country, so we should pay enough attention to college students’ mental health education. Although China has paid much attention to mental health education and made some achievements, there are still some problems, especially most of the mental health education courses in schools are still dominated by the traditional mental health education, instead of focusing on the development of the potential of college students and the cultivation of positive qualities. Therefore, in the new era, colleges and universities should explore a new mode of mental health education for college students from the perspective of positive psychology, guide students to actively cope with various challenges in life, improve their resistance to bad psychology, and cultivate more high-quality talents for the society.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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[6] Zhang, X. F. (2014). On the Curriculum System of College Students’ Mental Health Education from the Perspective of Positive Psychology. Journal of Zhejiang University of Science and Technology, 4, 24.

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