Mental Health Month: How School-Based Therapists Can Promote Mental Health to Students
May is Mental Health Month; a national movement created to raise awareness about mental health. One in four young adults have a mental health issue, and 40 percent are not seeking treatment, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Clearly, it’s important for schools to help fight the stigma and provide support to students who need it.
As a school based-therapist, you’re in a position to really influence the lives of vulnerable young people. Mental Health Month is an opportunity to educate and inform students, teachers, and parents about these issues and how to cope with them. Here are a few ways to promote the importance of mental health and make students feel comfortable asking for help.
Publicize Available Resources
No doubt, your school has plenty of resources designed to help students cope with mental health issues. However, many students who desperately need help probably have no idea it’s available to them. Change this by publicizing available mental health resources. For example, you might ask teachers if you can speak to their classes for a few minutes to highlight them.
Discuss It in the Classroom
Students spend the bulk of their day, five days a week, at school either physically or virtually. This presents an incredible opportunity to work mental health awareness into the classroom. Work with teachers to integrate mental health into their lesson plans. Even a brief discussion can really resonate with students and open their eyes to issues they’re facing. This can be life-changing, as many may not realize so many other people struggle with the same things, and that help is readily available.
Properly Train Your Staff
Teachers want to help their students, but most don’t have much of a mental health background. Therefore, it can be difficult for them to recognize signs that students are struggling. Creating a training program that can be completed independently or during an in-service day can open their eyes to indicators their students need help. Educating teachers on warning signs and how to assist students who need them will allow them to make a profound impact on these young lives.
Start a NAMI Chapter
If your school doesn’t already have a National Alliance for Mental Illness chapter, consider starting one. These groups can serve as an invaluable resource to students, as they offer many benefits, including raising mental health awareness, helping students form their own support systems, advocating for them, and educating the entire school about key mental health issues.
The ability to belong to a NAMI chapter can have a profound impact on students’ lives. These kids are at a vulnerable age, so connecting them to the help they need now and empowering them to share what they’re going through can make a world of difference.
As a therapist, you have the power to change your patients’ lives for the better. If you would like to learn more about how we can help you find your next behavioral health position, contact us today at (513) 651-9500 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.