Over the past week, there’s been an outpouring of teachers sharing why they teach mental health, and we couldn’t be more supportive of this latest social media movement. Using the hashtag #iteachmentalhealth, educators are helping to start an important conversation about mental health issues and the stigma around mental illness.
Instagram users @makingastatementinsped and @appleyeverafter1 launched the movement on May 3, offering a free printable for educators to customize and share their own reasons for teaching mental health.
“Depression and anxiety is something I’ve struggled with for years,” wrote @appleyeverafter1 in her kickoff post. “We need to arm our children with ways to overcome the struggle of mental illness.”
Yes! With the rise of anxiety, teen suicide, and mental health struggles in our classrooms, we agree this conversation needs to happen early and often. We encourage physical health through P.E., health class, school lunches, and brain breaks—and we need to prioritize mental health in the same way.
Other teachers were quick to jump on board, sharing some of the crucial reasons they support mental health education.
Because mental health issues start early…
And we need to normalize it.
Because kids need to know it’s okay to take a break…
And that there should be no shame around mental health struggles.
Because self-care isn’t selfish…
For students OR for teachers.
Because we all need a mindfulness toolkit…
And developing one is just as important as learning how to read.
Because we need to be open about mental health challenges…
So that kids know they are not alone.
Because naming feelings is powerful…
And helps kids to process them.
We’d love to hear—how do you approach mental health in the classroom? Have you joined the #iteachmentalhealth campaign? Come and share in our WeAreTeachers HELPLINE group on Facebook.
Plus, why we need to do more for teachers who are exhausted and burned out.