Your Classroom Climate

While you can’t safeguard students from every emotional challenge or anticipate every stressful situation they may face, you can take steps to create an open, accepting climate in your classroom, where students know it is safe to talk about how they are feeling.

You have very specific teaching goals for each class period. You may worry that adding the topic of mental health into your lesson plans will take away class time you need for your regular subject matter. You may also be concerned about your own comfort level around the topic. But incorporating mental health topics into your classroom doesn’t mean a major investment of time or resources, or a big departure from your teaching style. As this section of the website shows, even teachers who don’t feel comfortable addressing mental health topics are finding simple, creative ways to make their classrooms more supportive.

This part of the website contains a number of tactics to improve communication, promote wellness and reduce stigma, followed by a number of proven techniques for relaxation and stress reduction. These ideas have been utilized by mental health professionals, guidance counselors, coaches and high school teachers. They range from simply posting resources where your students can see them to incorporating in-class exercises and extra credit homework into your curriculum. Try implementing one or more to make your classroom a mental health-friendly zone.