The U. S. Department of Health & Human Services maintains a comprehensive Mental Health website that includes a definition of mental health, a discussion of common myths surrounding mental health, descriptions of numerous mental health disorders and several ways of getting help for mental health disorders. Also included are ways of addressing mental health issues according to the relationships, such as the relationships of caregivers or friends, to individuals who could be of concern. One of these groups is educators.
Educators are able to find advice for promoting good mental health, as well as recognizing and addressing mental health concerns, among students, on the page, “For Educators,” included in the MentalHealth.gov website.
The site recommends that educators know:
- the warning signs of mental health problems,
- the school’s protocol for addressing concerns regarding a student, and
- how to access help in a crisis or for continuing services.
A list of behavioral changes that an educator might observe in a student is included.
Perhaps most valuable to educators are ideas shared for enhancing the mental health of all students:
- Promote social and emotional competence
- Teach and reinforce positive behaviors and decision-making skills
- Help students build resilience
- Ensure safe, positive classroom and school environments
- Encourage helping others
- Champion measures for good physical health
Educators are urged to develop and maintain school-based mental health programs, and, especially, to learn, share and employ evidence-based strategies such as those taught in Classroom WISE.