The importance of mental health — especially now
Many schools are taking proactive measures, shutting their doors and moving to remote learning environments. In the face of a public health crisis, it is equally important to monitor physical health as well as mental health. This time of change, uncertainty and the fear of the unknown will undoubtedly heighten levels of stress, anxiety and depression. Erika’s Lighthouse encourages schools to consider if and how they will teach the topic of depression in remote environments.
Tools to Use
Remote learning may make it challenging to conduct lessons about depression and suicide. In fact, it could actually be in students’ best interest to not teach it when students might be home alone during remote learning. That being said, it is also important to address the importance of self care and taking care of our mental health during these times. Lesson 3 of our Middle School and High School Programs specifically addresses stress and general good mental health practices. The Middle School Program also includes a mindfulness activity. Perhaps this is the time to talk to students about positive coping skills and encourage them to talk to trusted adults and friends about what they might be feeling. A few other ideas include:
- Online check-ins through in-class polls, emails asking students to check-in and see if they need support, occasional mental health wellness check-ins on previously identified students.
- Encourage breaks in online lesson plans for mindfulness exercises, breathing or taking a walk.
- Promote discussions with parents or trusted adults about feelings, struggles, challenges.
Log in to the Resource Portal to look at our resources.
Protecting Your Mental Health in the Face of Uncertainty
“A large part of anxiety comes from a sense of what we think we should be able to control, but can’t. Right now, many of us are worried about COVID-19, known as the “Coronavirus”. We may feel helpless about what will happen or what we can do to prevent further stress.”
Read more from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
Erika’s Lighthouse Staff
As of Monday, March 16, all Erika’s Lighthouse staff will be working remotely. We will be available via email and can schedule calls as needed. Please know we are here to support you and your school to ensure that this important topic continues to be addressed in schools across the country.
For program questions, contact:
The team at Erika’s Lighthouse knows how challenging and difficult this transition is on our teens, educators, parents and others. We are here to help and support our young people. We have launched an exciting new campaign that will provide meaningful, practical resources for teens, educators and parents.