I am currently working as the school social worker for Indian River Charter High School. My job has changed recently due to no longer being on school campus. I am no longer able to meet face to face with students and provide support to those struggling with mental illness and/or your everyday stress of being a teenager. I went from being as easily accessible to my students as a knock on my door to having to send students “check in” emails and providing occasional video sessions.

I have been trying to provide all students with access to mental health materials via email. But a few weeks ago, I started to brainstorm other ways to reach the students without bombarding them with another email. I then approached our Communications and Community Relations Specialist who runs our school Instagram page. I asked her about starting to post more mental health tips. She was on board and we began to brainstorm the best approach to introduce these tips. I was kind of stuck trying to find a way to bring up this new element to the page without it feeling out of place.

It wasn’t until I opened my inbox and saw an email from Erika’s Lighthouse that I got an idea. I learned that May is Mental Health Awareness Month and they had created a Positivity Pledge with a calendar that gave small daily challenges to improve overall mental health. I thought this was a great way to introduce the students to mental health tips and provide daily reminders via social media.

I believe the positivity pledge can not only help our students but also the parents, teachers, staff, and myself. I look forward to not only participating but also sharing these tips with our students during the month of May.

I am hopeful that our students and their families will find this information helpful and a fun way to spend their day.

Author: Emily Hatala, MSW, School Social Worker – Indian River Charter High School, Vero Beach, FL

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