Everyone Loves This Teacher’s Brilliant Idea To Get Students To Open Up About Their Mental Health

Anxiety, chronic stress and clinical depression. We’ve all heard about these mental illnesses but tend to sweep them under the rug. There are a lot of stigmas attached to these terms and often, people battling with them feel like they have nobody to talk to. Which unfortunately, makes the situation even worse.

But a high school Special Education (English/health) teacher from San Francisco has found a way to help students come out in the open about their mental wellbeing. Erin Castillo has a background in psychology which makes better suited to understand young minds.

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Hello friends of the gram! It’s been a bit since I’ve introduced myself here and there have been quite a few new faces (totally overwhelmed trying to keep up with all of you, but thankful you’re here). So let me share some fun facts! • I can touch my tongue to my nose. • I married my high school sweetheart after being long distance for college. • My first word was doggie and I was very talkative baby (heck, I’m a very talking adult). • words of affirmation are my love language, I want to know that I am on the right path. • I have a learning disability called Auditory Processing Disorder. • I was the pickiest child, but now I’m a pretty adventurous eater. • I follow my heart instead of my head and can be really emotional because of that. ••• Do we have anything in common? If not tell me a random fact about yourself! • • • #highschoolteacher #secondaryela #teacherblogger #teacherinspiration #teacherlife🍎 #teachersfollowteachers #teachersofinstagram #teaching #teacherstyle #iteachtoo #specialeducationteacher #weteachsped

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Inspired by a fellow teacher, Erin came up with this mental health check-in chart. Essentially, students have to write their name at the back of a post-it note and stick it in the row that matches how they are feeling.

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Made this mental health check in chart after seeing @missjohnstonsjourney use a digital version for teachers on her #okayteacher Facebook page. I asked my students to write their names on the back of a post-it note so I could check in with ones in the bottom two sections. I explained the green section as them struggling, but speaking to another adult or trying to work through it themselves. ••• I was able to start some check ins today, and holy cow these kids. I love them. My heart hurts for them. High school is rough sometimes, but I was happy that a few were given a safe space to vent and work through some feelings. ••• I also like that students could visually see that they aren’t alone in their struggles. It was a beautiful minimum day focusing on self care and mental health. ••• 💟UPDATE: just added a printable version with detail instructions so you can do this in your classroom! It’s FREE!💟 • • • #mentalhealthawareness #highschoolteacher #secondaryela #teacherorganization #teachings #anchorcharts #teachersofinstagram #teachersfollowteachers #teachersfollowingteachers #iteachtoo #teachertips #weareteachers #teacherspayteachers #teacherideas #teachingideas #specialeducationteacher #teacherlove #teach #weteachsped #teacher #iteachhighschool #elateacher #teachergoals #igteacher #igteachers #teachersofig

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The 6 sections on the chart are: I’m great, I’m okay, I’m meh, I’m struggling, I’m having a hard time and wouldn’t mind a check-in and I’m in a really dark place. Erin explains that,

“Society has a way of encouraging people to push their feelings down and continue on with life. This is not only unhealthy but can be very dangerous… If there’s anything I’ve learned over my 6 years of teaching, it’s that most kids WANT to talk, they just aren’t sure who to talk to or how to do it.”

Her chart has helped many kids in her class seek help and at the same time showed them that they are not alone. People are lauding Erin for her efforts and adopting the idea themselves.

Internet strangers are making me cry 😭.

Erin Castillo ಅವರಿಂದ ಈ ದಿನದಂದು ಪೋಸ್ಟ್ ಮಾಡಲಾಗಿದೆ ಮಂಗಳವಾರ, ಮಾರ್ಚ್ 26, 2019

If you like this idea and would like to implement it in your classroom/home/workplace then download the printable version here. Let’s change the way we see mental illnesses and fight them together.