October 10th 2020 is World Mental Health Day. First observed on October 10th, 1992, this international day acts as a great reminder that Mental Health affects us all and is something we must speak out about. Each year the World Federation for Mental Health sets a theme. This year, the theme is ‘Mental Health for All’.
In this blog you will learn a variety of activities you can use to teach about Mental Health and participate in the World Mental Health Day activities.
What is Mental Health
Everyone has mental health – just like everyone has physical health. We all have it. We all need to look after it.
Some people refer to Mental Health as ’emotional health’ or ‘mental wellbeing’. The names are synonymous and interchangeable. It refers to how you are feeling and how well you can cope with the day to day stressors. It can change from moment to moment, day to day, and year to year. As such, it’s imperative that discussing effective coping tools, resilience techniques and mindfulness techniques is so important.
Introducing Youth to Mental Health
Mental health is an incredibly important topic to discuss openly with youth. Not only can the conversation help students feel connected and not alone, but it also primes them with key coping skills that could potentially save their life.
The World Federation for Mental Health has shared some provocative statistics on how Mental Health problems can escalate to serious illness and even suicide. The World Health Organisation states that 1 in 4 individuals will experience poor mental health and every 40 seconds someone commits suicide. This number accounts for more lives claimed than homicide and war.
Youth between 15 and 29 are the highest risk group.
Therefore, it is important to discuss mental health and effective coping skills within the classroom, the home, and any youth centred group. It’s imperative that youth feel connected and know where they can turn for support.
Teaching Mental Health
Depending on the age group, there are a variety of ways to teach about mental wellbeing.
reception – year 2:
- Books that discuss dealing with adversity or change
- Mindfulness glitter jars
- Using puppets to teach key lessons about resilience and friendship
year 3 – year 5:
- Books that discuss dealing with friendships, bullying, self image and adversity
- Learning about emotional literacy
- Introducing mindfulness games to teach reflection, breathing techniques and self regulation
- Using popular culture to discuss resilience and adversity and racism
year 6 – year 9:
- Using books to explore themes of self image, adversity, peer pressure, mental wellbeing
- Feeling identification and journaling
- Increasing time with mindfulness or meditation
- Using art and poetry to talk about the complexities of the mind and mental wellbeing
year 10 – young adult hood
- Popular culture to discuss key themes about self identity
- How to support friends (self) with mental illnesses
- Identifying mental problems and the key strategies to support
- Self care routines
And at all ages, students should feel confident knowing who they can turn to for support.
#HelloYellow is the Young Minds yearly campaign that promotes talking about mental wellbeing. They have a fundraising kit that is packed with classroom activities for both online and in person learning.
Click here for the HelloYellow activity kit.
#DoOneThing is the Mind campaign that promotes simple changes that can create overall improved wellbeing. They share plenty of resources on their website. One of my favourites is their wellbeing calendar.
World Mental Health Day will be celebrated throughout the first of October through to the 10th. A virtual global campaign will host 100 speakers and artists, 30 countries and one goal: to bring Mental Health to all.
Click here to register for the speakers and artists.
Bettering Youth tutoring services always weave wellbeing and emotional literacy throughout our academic programmes. As such, our blog has many fabulous resources for parents and teachers to teach mental wellbeing. One of our favourites is using film to talk about mental health. This month we looked at the theme of feelings in Disney’s ‘Inside Out’.
Click here to learn more about using ‘Inside Out’ to teach about mental wellbeing.
Click here for a day filled with ‘Inside Out’ inspired games and activities.
Join us every day of October in accomplishing activities from our Self Care Bingo!
Just save this photo and be sure to tag us @betteringyouth as you complete an activity each day 🙂