Supporting Student Mental Health in the Classroom

Supporting Student emotional health

As an educator, you likely understand that students’ mental health and well-being are essential for their success, both in and out of the classroom. We know that sometimes there aren’t enough resources available to educators to assist with student mental health and social-emotional growth. That’s why in today’s blog we’re exploring a few ways you can help support your students’ mental health in your classroom.

Creating a Safe and Supportive Environment

The classroom environment plays a pivotal role in determining a student’s mental well-being. Everyone wants to feel safe and secure, no matter the space they inhabit. As an educator, here are some ways to ensure your classroom is a warm and welcoming place for students of all backgrounds.

Encourage Open Communication

Encouraging open communication is the first step toward creating a safe and supportive environment. Letting your students know they can talk to you about anything without fear of judgment may seem obvious but is harder to achieve than you’d think. To put it simply, it’s a two-way street. As the authority figure in the room, you can set the standard for open and honest communication by showing rather than telling. Try leaving time at the end of lessons for students to ask you questions or open a dialogue with them about casual personal subjects. Could be a favorite artist, tv show, etc. By starting the dialogue you show your students that this is a space where they can discuss anything. 

Foster Positive Relationships

Fostering positive relationships with your students is crucial in creating a safe and supportive environment. Take the time to get to know your students as individuals. Show an interest in their lives outside of the classroom and let them know that you care. 

Incorporating Mental Health into Your Curriculum

Incorporating health strategies into your curriculum is an effective way to not only educate your students on its importance but, demonstrate your sincere dedication toward maintaining a healthy environment in your classroom.

Teach Healthy Coping Mechanisms

Teaching healthy coping mechanisms can help students manage their stress and anxiety throughout the school day. A great way to start the dialogue is by explaining a few of the healthy coping mechanisms you use regularly. Then provide examples of unhealthy coping mechanisms and then provide a positive strategy as the alternative behavior.

Discuss Mental Health

Discussing mental health in the classroom can help reduce the stigma surrounding mental health issues. Once again, the best way to encourage your students to discuss mental health challenges is to be open with some of your own experiences. Even though experiences may differ between you and your students, the emotions that stem from them are always easy to empathize with. The more you can show healthy, open communication, the more students will get involved.

Offering Support and Resources

Offering support and resources to your students is essential in promoting their mental well-being and also goes a long way in demonstrating your dedication to their well-being. Here are some ways to offer support and resources to your students:

Provide Access to Online Resources

There’s a plethora of resources for social-emotional support and mental health wellness, you just have to know where to look. We recommend thoroughly vetting any resources you find to ensure you’re providing safe and trustworthy content. The National Institute of Mental Health is a great way to get started with a variety of health resources. Make sure you research any that you recommend so you can explain exactly how the help is used.

Advocate for Mental Health Services

Advocate for mental health services in your school and community. Encourage school administrators to prioritize mental health services and to provide resources to support students whenever possible. Additionally, encourage your students to speak up and advocate for their own needs as well and ensure that they know they can count on you.

The Wrap-Up

In conclusion, supporting student mental health in the classroom is an important responsibility for educators. By showing up for your students and offering guidance and resources, you can help them build a strong foundation for use in the classroom and the rest of their lives. Remember, your mental health is just as important too! Be sure to check out our blog on Avoiding Teacher Burnout for additional resources and information.

Author

  • Rob Shield

    Rob Shield is based out of Columbus, Ohio. As Numerade's copywriter, Rob uses their extensive background in education to inform and shape the topics and content posted to the blog for educators, parents, and students alike.