#EVERFIedchat: Making Space for Mental Health

Educators are acutely aware of the importance of addressing mental wellness. They are so often on the front lines fighting bullying, low self-esteem, unhealthy coping mechanisms and more. That’s why EVERFI created Mental Wellness Basics, a resource for students to learn about creating and maintaining a positive relationship with their own mental wellness. But we also know that educators can learn from one another and better their approach.

In last week’s #EVERFIedchat, educators, mental health professionals, and EVERFI joined together to discuss mental wellness, its effect on student performance, and tools to help better address this topic with students.

Q1: What are typically the most common stressors in your students’ lives?

All students experience varying levels of stress, some of which disrupts their learning process. Educators should be aware that students can be disproportionately affected by stress based on their socioeconomic status, race, or ability, but LeLe Geib M.Ed provided a poignant reminder.

Students with Individual Education Plans (IEPs) often experience isolation from their peers whether due to perceived differences or from being pulled from typical classes or assessments regularly. These stressors can have a significant effect on student self-perception.

Q2: How can teachers help students manage the pressures of social media?

Alyssa Lyons advocates for an information-forward, proactive approach. How can we expect kids to make the right choice without all the information?

Q3: What ideas have you seen to create school or classroom environments that alleviate stress?

Mrs. Gray views relationship-building as a cornerstone of stress relief.

Teaching healthy coping mechanisms helps create a happier classroom, more effective students, and a more cooperative, inclusive school community.

Or get creative – Jeffrey Austin shares a unique but simple way to get to know students.

Q4: How do you model mental wellness for students?

Modeling is the primary way to imprint upon students the attitudes and behaviors we would most like to see. As Stephanie Stokes says, it starts with getting it wrong and owning it.

Unfortunately, failure is inevitable. Teaching students healthy ways to respond to failure can really set them up for success!

Q5: What are strategies or lessons you use to teach kids how to manage their stress?

Mindful breathing and meditation are great options for an easy daily ritual like Ali Kirchberger’s class.

If your students aren’t into that, they might enjoy a music break, like Eileen Lennon’s school.

Or, take the pressure off entirely, like Brian T. Donohue.

Q6: How is mental wellness aligned to social emotional learning?

As Mykel J. Estes said, the two concepts are not the same, but are definitely related.

Gretchen Dorn illuminated on the interplay of these concepts action.

Q7: How can teachers destigmatize conversations around mental health and well-being?

Start the conversation with your own experiences, like Miss Ashley Shanley suggests.

Q8:How do you practice self-care, and what is the impact on your overall wellness?

Here’s what we suggest:

What do you plan to do to keep up with your mental health this school year?

We hope you enjoyed EVERFI’s first-ever #EVERFIedchat! We are looking forward to next month’s #EVERFIedchat on September 11, 2019, at 7 PM EST where we’ll discuss career readiness. Won’t you join us?

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