About This Site
Interested in building a more mental health-friendly classroom? Start here.
What brought you here?
You’re visiting this website for a reason. Maybe you’ve noticed worrisome signs in a student, or perhaps a student approached you with a concern about him/herself or a classmate. Now you’re wondering what to do. We developed this website to supply you with both resources and the confidence to address your concerns.
How do you feel about being here?
It’s perfectly understandable to feel overwhelmed or anxious when thinking about how to introduce the concept of mental illness to your high school students. You may be asking yourself questions like these:
Can I help? You’re a teacher, not a therapist. You’re not trained to diagnose or treat mental illness. Your class time is already booked bell-to-bell with required subject matter. Is it even possible for you to make a difference for a student in distress? (By the way, the answer is a resounding YES!)
Should I help? You may be concerned that you are potentially overstepping the boundary between teacher and student. When in doubt, the best approach is to begin by checking your school’s protocols and speaking with school administration.
Questions like these don’t mean you lack compassion, or that you’re afraid to tackle tough subjects. They mean you’re human. Rest assured: no one expects you to take the place of a parent or healthcare professional. No one expects you to diagnose or provide therapy. However, we hope that every teacher – no matter what their comfort level may be with regard to addressing mental health issues in the classroom – would rely on their capacity to be empathetic and connect students to useful resources if needed. This website can help you to do that.
And even if every student in your class seems to be thriving, consider the tools and resources on this website an “insurance policy” to help you keep them on a healthy path.
When it comes to finding the answers you need to help support your students’ emotional and mental health, you’ve come to the right place.
This website was developed by experts at the University of Michigan Depression Center in partnership with teachers like you. Research conducted with high school personnel and administrators revealed a need for easy-to-apply information and strategies which can be utilized by school professionals to support student mental health. In particular, teachers identified a need for:
- Referral resources for immediate or non-immediate mental health concerns;
- Strategies for talking with students about these concerns;
- Strategies for connecting and communicating with parents;
- Classroom strategies to promote positive mental health and the use of coping skills among all students.
While there are no quick fixes for most of the issues your students present, this website is a toolkit you can turn to for mental health information and classroom-tested ideas which you can use to promote a healthier, more productive classroom for you and your students.
Throughout this website, you'll find exercises you can use in one-on-one interactions with students, and/or with your entire class. You may find them helpful on your own, too!