CBT in Classrooms

(TW: Brief mention of suicide and other mental health triggers)

Teachers are now beginning to see the importance of mental health check-ins within the classroom. Ten years ago, this concept would seem very invasive in children’s lives – but thanks to the pandemic and the usual progression of generations – mental health is now a big factor in everybody’s life. The point is to normalize these conversations; normalizing emotional communication. Emotional communication is necessary so that today’s generation of children is able to adequately process their emotions by acknowledging them head-on. Having mental health check-ins also helps the child get professional help quickly if there is a crisis. This is important as we already know how children’s mental health has been declining as it has been overlooked for too long.

Teachers: What are they doing?

Most teachers have prioritized mental health check-ins for the children, especially as of the 2022-2023 school year. It starts with just a small, 5-minute segment at the beginning of each day where the teacher will have some small activity to allow children to express themselves freely and safely, honestly without judgment. This is where children could feel safe enough to talk about suicidal ideations they may have if that is the case, since it is supposed to be a safe space. The teacher would be able to escalate the situation to a proper professional so the child can receive help.

If you’re a teacher and you’re interested in what you can do in your classrooms to benefit children’s mental health, check out the links here:

What can parents do to help?

Talk to your child’s teacher to see what they do for mental health check-ins every day, or if your school district allows time for teachers to create an activity. If not, recommend it or see what you can do to help them get started, perhaps – maybe – by sharing this blog with them. As a parent, you may also start by normalizing mental health conversations at home. Create a judgment-free zone or time period each day where your child can safely communicate with you, the parent. No matter how minute the issue or emotion may seem to you, it’s important to validate and acknowledge what your child is feeling so that they can be familiar with what that emotion is. This can create coping mechanisms for them as they get older and start experiencing new emotions.

Why does student mental health matter?

Teachers found that students were struggling academically UNTIL they acknowledged mental health struggles within the students. Without getting into the science of it, I will confirm that emotional health directly correlates to cognitive health. If someone is struggling mentally with emotional trauma or even common struggles, it can affect how they learn and if they are learning efficiently. Opening these conversations helps kids cope better with the struggles that we commonly see every day.

It’s a small change of routine that has greater potential outcome than not acknowledging the elephant in the room. Let children be safe enough to express their feelings. Their brains will thank you later. šŸ™‚

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