Teachers and youth workers!
To help you plan ahead and make mental health a priority in your classroom this year, we’ve created a helpful calendar with all the important dates like:
- World Mental Health Day
- Stress Awareness Week and
- Children’s Mental Health Week
If you haven’t already, you can download and print this document for yourself here.
Now that you’ve got your calendar, you might be thinking… what now?
Here are a few tips on how to plan ahead and make the most of your mental health awareness day calendar in your classroom.
4 Tips on How to Get the Most Out of Your Mental Health Awareness Day Calendar in the Classroom
Tip #1: Don’t feel pressured to celebrate every mental health awareness day.
You don’t have to have something planned for every awareness day – it’s just not realistic! Instead, choose a few days on your calendar that you are really passionate about, and try to make the most out of them.
For example, World Sleep Day and the International Day of Happiness take place on the 19th and 20th of March this year. Instead of trying to work both messages into your lesson plans, be deliberate and celebrate the one that you feel would benefit your classroom the most.
This ensures that you’re not overwhelmed with planning, and your students are given the opportunity to really focus on one impactful mental health message.
Tip #2: Use campaign websites to help you plan ahead.
You do not have to become a mental health expert overnight, and you certainly do not have to write your own mental health curriculum to celebrate an awareness day!
All of the days in our awareness calendar are backed up with a real campaign website packed with resources that are either ready to use or can be adapted to suit your classroom.
We recommend checking out the campaign website several weeks ahead of time to get a feel for what resources are available. You’ll likely find anything from colouring sheets, slides, videos, and helpful guides with talking points.
If you are looking for additional mental health curriculum and resources to support your classroom, check out our learning platform here – it’s designed specifically for teachers and youth workers!
Tip #3: Establish good safeguarding and follow-up processes.
Sometimes mental health themes can be heavy. And you may find that some of your students are emotionally affected after being exposed to certain mental health topics.
As an educator, it’s important for you to have an ‘action plan’ with resources and contacts that students can turn to if they need to talk to someone. First and foremost, make sure students know how to contact their counsellor or safeguarding officer at your school. You may also want to provide them with your local mental health hotlines or text messaging services. Our online self-help resource, www.thelilyjoproject.com/#help, is also a great link to share so that they can further explore mental health topics in private and at their own pace.
Tip #4: Allow yourself time to reflect and absorb the information for yourself.
Again, mental health topics can be heavy – even for adults! Topics like anxiety, eating disorders, and suicide might be triggering for you as a person, and that’s okay!
Even if you do not consider yourself as someone who struggles with mental health, we recommend giving yourself some space to really process and sit with some of the mental health messages you may encounter in your lesson planning. You never know what information you may find that is beneficial to your own mental health.
By staying open to the messages for yourself, you will have the ability to discuss the topics with your students from a place of authenticity.
One More Time – Here’s Your FREE Mental Health Awareness Day Calendar
You can download our mental health awareness day calendar for 2021 here. If you know of a relevant campaign that we may have missed, feel free to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’d love to add it.
If you’re looking for more mental health resources for your classroom, we welcome you to explore our learning platform here or catch our recent article which serves as an introduction to everything our learning platform has to offer.
About the Author: Shelby Hale
Shelby has been with The Lily-Jo Project since October of 2018, serving as the platform’s PR and Communications Manager. Having lived in four different countries throughout her young adulthood, Shelby is passionate about the positive impact new experiences can have on mental health.
When she’s not working with The Lily-Jo Project, she supports other projects through her creative agency, Hale Marketing and Communications. If you’d like to stay updated with Shelby’s story, you can find her on Instagram and Twitter.