We offer a suite of three educational programs designed to allow educators to empower their students with an introduction to mental health, depression literacy, help-seeking, and good mental health. These are no-cost, tier-one, early identification, and early intervention programs that are geared toward students in grades 4-12 and use diverse teen voices to spread awareness and reduce stigma.

Our programs include the following:

  • Level I: We All Have Mental Health – ideal for grades 4-6. This program is an introduction to mental health by understanding everyday feelings versus overwhelming feelings with a strong focus on help-seeking and good mental health.
  • Level II: Depression Awareness- ideal for grades 5-9. This program is an introduction to depression by recognizing the signs and symptoms of depression with a strong focus on help-seeking and good mental health.
  • Level III: Depression Education and Suicide Awareness – ideal for grades 8-12. This program delves into a deeper discussion and suicide along with a strong focus on help-seeking and good mental health.

Our programs are video-based, educator-led/counselor-led, and skills-based, meeting national health education standards. Each program consists of 4 lessons to be completed over 4 days; however if a school or district only has 1-3 days to teach the program, the program is flexible enough for that to be accomplished. After watching video clips, students are provided with opportunities to discuss and think critically about the information and perspectives shared in the video.

Facilitator’s instructions as well as Student Workbooks are available. Slide shows are also available to use as you teach each lesson. They are available as Google Slides, PowerPoint, or pdf. A number of additional supports are offered such as self-referral cards and informational bookmarks that also promote help-seeking behavior and positive mental health behaviors. The importance of these ancillary materials to support school-based activities and policies is essential to the seamless implementation of depression education and suicide prevention.

Theoretically, how does Classroom Education make an impact in schools?

We know that depression is far more prevalent than suicide. There is a unique and incontrovertible link between depression, mental health, and suicide. These two statements support the idea that effective depression education IS suicide prevention.

Utilizing an upstream approach, depression education allows school communities to identify more students struggling with mental health challenges earlier than suicide prevention alone. This can result in early intervention and avoidance of suicidal ideations. Over 96% of students believe anxiety and depression are problems within their school building. Universal education around these topics is important, effective, and necessary.

Schools can benefit from a broader discussion of mental health, such as depression because it is relevant to the entire population of students, reduces stigma and builds a school climate of good mental health, and addresses many of the issues that impact a student’s ability to learn and person any given day – attendance, achievement, behaviors, and others.

Pragmatically, how does Classroom Education make an impact in schools?

Our classroom programs were developed to be skills-based, meaning they were designed to not only educate students with knowledge but also empower them with the tools and skills to act upon that information through role-playing, practice, and modeling behaviors. It can be especially helpful in mental health education. Traditional delivery of information to students about suicide and mental health may be beneficial within a specific classroom, but the experiences, challenges, and mental well-being of students can change rapidly during adolescence. Non-skills-based programming may not set students up for success later and be insufficient for the potential future onset of mental illness.

Every school is different and you know your students best. Our videos, lesson plans, and assessments allow educators to adapt materials according to the needs of their classrooms so that we can forge a healthy environment for students to talk to educators, and to each other. Through teaching positive coping mechanisms, signs and symptoms, and help-seeking we can build a foundation of empathy and understanding in our schools.

How does Classroom Education fit into the Erika’s Lighthouse framework?

Our programs firmly center on the student, allowing them to find their voices and speak up about mental health. By building up students in their school, they have the ability to share their knowledge with the community around them, and in turn, create a whole school and whole community that supports their physical and mental health. These building blocks provide students with the foundation to succeed and excel academically and socially.

Now, how do schools get started?

It’s super simple! Create an account in our Resource Portal to gain access to our suite of programs. Once you log in, you will have access to all of the Erika’s Lighthouse programs and resources including our Classroom Education materials for grades 4-12.

It’s important to think about where the classroom program(s) will best fit. Many of our schools teach the programs within health education classes while others teach it in advisory or a general education classrooms. Ideally, it’s best if an educator and a mental health staff person partner up together to team teach it.

Make sure to review and communicate any important information on the mental health protocol in your school to all staff, possibly even host a staff training. The more of your staff are aware that this education is occurring, the better as they may be called upon to talk as a student’s trusted adult.

This program can serve as your school’s primary depression and suicide awareness teaching tool or can be used to supplement the education you’re already providing your students through your own lesson plans, textbooks, other curricula, and/or guest speakers. Know that when you use our classroom programs as part of your depression and suicide prevention education -we support you. We are committed to partnering with you as you teach this program. Please let us know how we can support you.