As we embark on a new school year it seems that everything is important. Parents, educators and teens are concerned about health, academic development, friendships and socialization, sports, extracurriculars and everything in between. This is complicated by the disparate nature of education for students: in-person, remote, hybrid and the other creative options being utilized to keep children, teens and communities physically safe and healthy.
But one area that is easy to put aside is the focus on our mental health. Education, awareness, self-care, identification and empathy are all exceedingly important as we pass through a collective trauma caused by the pandemic.
Erika’s Lighthouse is aware of the unique need to provide innovative, safe, healthy ways for students to learn and talk about mental health. The challenge of providing mental health education, particularly in a remote learning environment, has been top of mind since March.
We are excited to announce we have created a solution for educators and school communities to deliver mental health and depression education to their students while they are learning from home.
Erika’s Lighthouse has taken careful consideration with ensuring the messages we share with students are productive, factual, hopeful and most importantly – helpful. We never want to learn that a student has had an adverse response to our positive messages surrounding mental health.
In order to accomplish this, we have collaborated with the Anna Freud Centre for Children and Families out of the United Kingdom to adapt their We All Have Mental Health video for American students. This short 4-minute video offers an animated story on the mental health challenges of two teens and how both of them were able to address their own unique circumstances.
Sasha addressed her “everyday feelings” by utilizing positive coping strategies and good mental health practices to refocus her life. Andre had a more difficult time with “overwhelming feelings” and required the support and assistance of a therapist and other interventions to address his depression. Both teens speak with their trusted adults to get the help they need.
Flexible & Effective
Erika’s Lighthouse has developed a 45-minute lesson plan (or three shorter ones) from this video for educators to utilize in their classes to help students understand and identify mental health challenges, practice good mental health, and identify and speak with a trusted adult.
Early results from over 1,100 students have been extremely promising:
- 96% report that mental health is just as important as physical health.
- 99% believe everyone deserves good mental health.
- 96% learned to recognize the signs and symptoms of depression.
- 98% learned to find help for themselves or a friend.
- 94% believe this program will help break down stigma in their community.
You can access the Remote Learning program today on the Erika’s Lighthouse Resource Portal by visiting ErikasLighthouse.org. This free program, with additional worksheets, trainings, interventions and more are available for school communities around the world.
This is a very good and safe place for us teenagers to share our feelings, and it’s very nice to know that there are institutions that has interest in our mental health and gives us the solution to have a better mental health in this pandemic situation.