If 2020 has taught us one thing it is that we need to be flexible and resilient as everything is changing, sometimes even daily. Words we have heard more than we ever thought possible include unprecedented, social distancing, pandemic, masks, etc.

When it comes to Educators, your roles have had a great share of changes as well. Hybrid learning, remote-learning, Zoom classes are words you may never thought you would have in your work vocabulary, but here we are. The importance of teacher-student relationships is clear: Knowing students well is the foundation of teaching. And as this crisis unfolded, it’s these relationships that have mattered and will continue to matter the most.

We are living through a slow-motion collective trauma. And while we at Erika’s Lighthouse realize that a lot has been canceled or put on hold, one thing that has definitely not been canceled or put on hold, but rather enhanced by the many changes, is teenage depression. We need to consider the mental health of teachers and students—and design environments and experiences that support their well-being. This is why we have started our We’re In This Together: New Year, New Challenges, New Resources from Erika’s Lighthouse.

The start of a school year is always a lot of work for educators. This year, we expect that it will be even more difficult. It is for that reason we hope that our turn-key Depression Education/Suicide Prevention lesson plans will give you tools at your fingertips to discuss mental health with your students and give you the confidence to have challenging, but important, discussions.

Our evidence-informed programs are designed to be flexible to fit your school’s needs. This curriculum also meets the National Health Education Standards to promote accessing information, help-seeking and educate. We have added tools to support both in-person and remote learning. We have also developed a Professional Development training course for school staff. This can be found on the Resource Portal.

We encourage educators to take advantage of this program and take the time to connect. Through this, you can indeed have hard conversations, move through challenges, and come out on the other side. Things may be forever changed, however, we truly believe that We’re In This Together.