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.

Still of conversation about mental health depression and anxiety from Instagram

“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…

Still of conversation about mental health because mental health issues start early from Instagram

And we need to normalize it.

Source: @smilesinsecond

Because kids need to know it’s okay to take a break…

Still of conversation about mental health because kids need to know from Instagram

And that there should be no shame around mental health struggles.

Source: @teachingwithfinesse

Because self-care isn’t selfish…

Still of conversation about mental health because self care isn't selfish from Instagram

For students OR for teachers.

Source: @thedesignerteacher

Because we all need a mindfulness toolkit…

Still of conversation about mental health because we all need a mental health toolkit from Instagram

And developing one is just as important as learning how to read.

Source: @its_mr.mcgowen

Because we need to be open about mental health challenges…

Still of conversation about mental health because we need to be open from Instagram

So that kids know they are not alone.

Source: @rachienae

Because naming feelings is powerful…

Still of conversation about mental health because naming emotions is powerful from Instagram

And helps kids to process them.

Source: @allisonrog_

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.

Thanks to These Teachers for Starting an Important Conversation About Mental Health