FOR SCHOOLS AND WORKPLACES

Helping The Community

As a club, we believe that mental health education is vital, especially in both society and school/work settings. Many people, including students, teachers, and parents are misinformed about mental health issues due to the stigma that stigma them. Our club's goal is to educate communities about mental health and related issues. It is crucial to know the signs and symptoms of mental illness, as well as access available resources. Below are a series of links with more information on mental health education in schools.

 

45 TOOLS AND RESOURCES FOR STUDENT MENTAL HEALTH

 

NOTES FROM STUDENTS

UNDERSTANDING

I wish they would stop using excuses (scroll down). A general understanding of mental health would be so helpful. If they just understood, just a little bit, everything would be so much more simple. Although some students are willing, it is not our job to educate the adults. It also sucks when we are blamed for not reaching out because even when we do "everything right" by going to the counselors, speaking up for myself, and involving my parents...many schools are not equipped to properly support us.

OVER ASSIGNING

You. Are. Not. Our. Only. Class. Now more than ever, people are overwhelmed, people are grieving, and people are struggling. Mental health is so much more important than completing another practice sheet on graphing lines or verb conjugations. It is incredibly difficult to keep up with everyday life during this pandemic, let alone complete four hours of homework each night. As teenagers in our current environment, we are already being deprived of fun experiences.

ATTENDANCE

It can be incredibly difficult to get out of bed each morning already, especially with the challenges presented by online school. Even for students who don't struggle with mental health, even students in a full in-person, or hybrid model...receiving a markdown in my grade or attendance every time we are two minutes late is not helpful but rather discouraging and lacks a sense of understanding. This increases our anxiety and reluctance to attend classes. Most students who miss or are late to class do so because they are struggling, not because they are "lazy or for any othe illogical reason.

COLD-CALLING

This can cause alarm for all students, not just those who struggle with communication or suffer from social anxiety. Teachers often use the excuse that they are picking on students who are slacking and that putting them on the spot will help. It is proven more beneficial to support those students, rather than further isolate and embarrass them. If you believe a student is "slacking," there are many other ways to help them such as offering extra help or talking with them in private about creating a personal plan of action.

EXTRA-HELP

Please be approachable. Make sure your office hours are known and that you answer emails. If your best interest is really in the student's growth, then be willing to help them in ways that support them best. Everyone has different needs and often times it is intimidating and difficult to ask for accommodations. If you show your students that you are willing to support them, it will be much easier for them to ask for help.

COMPETITION

It is super uncomfortable when you put students against each other. Do not announce grades to the class or shame students for receiving lower grades than others. We want you to praise who are performing well, but it is demeaning and un-motivating to treat students differently depending on their performance. The added pressure is necessary and can be harmful when accompanied by other stressors.

TRAUMA

Click here to learn more about trauma.

Please know that "model students" may be overly well behaved due to a trauma response. Similarly, "rambunctious students" may be less well behaved due to a trauma response. Rather than reacting negatively or out of impulse by yelling, consider the effect it may have on your class. Before a lesson, try talking calmly talking with the students and be mindful to add content warnings before lessons. Be considerate!

CONFIDENTIALITY

Establishing trust is crucial! We understand that there are safety protocols for certain situations, however, sharing private information with our parents when it is unnecessary breaks confidentiality and trust. We understand that adults are worried, but a large-scale reaction to something that is not catastrophic can do more harm than good. Involving parents without a reasonable cause can result in further damage or leave the student in an unsafe situation. For example, many teens struggle with self harm and while it is important to reach out, it is not always life threatening.

PARTICIPATION

Class discussion can induce stress and anxiety, regardless of scale. Please provide alternatives for credit. "Shy kids" are either left out of the conversation or put on the spot. Requiring participation can be damaging especially when you are mentally and physically unable to. Some kids are tired, some are distracted. Also, unsafe and triggering conversation can lead to dissociation. Teachers can help by privately checking in on students or providing credit for taking notes and/or doing an alternative assignments.

LUNCH

Many school's prompt healthy eating but then don't condemn the toxic behavior of students or unhealthy environment they create. How are we to eat a balanced meal during our 25 minute break? The consequence is students putting nutrition second to our other responsibilities such as meeting with teachers or even just hanging out with friends. This is why mental health is not just about mental health. How are we suppose to eat well when the school only offers unhealthy food and drinks? How are we suppose to eat healthy when the government isn't sufficiently funding meal programs for those who can't afford food at home!

 

FOR EDUCATORS

NO MORE EXCUSES

“I didn’t know” - Most times the behavior you are trying to justify with this excuse was probably unacceptable in the first place whether the student has diagnosed mental illness or not.


“They are probably faking it for attention or an extension.” - Ask to yourself, why would someone willingly fake being unwell? The attention they are receiving is most times uncomfortable for the student. 

COMMUNICATE WITH YOUR STUDENTS

Talk about mental heath in group, private with specialized need (ask students if they are open to disclosing triggers, background, preferences, learning styles, etc.)

For example, some kids will hate group projects and other’s will actually prefer them. We understand you need to learn to adjust and that is a process, but if you aren’t even willing adapt your teaching methods for the benefits of students then you probably don't care about benefitting your students.