Despite the fact that a lot of children and adults suffer from mental health issues such as anxiety and depression, the topic remains a taboo that not many people are willing to openly talk about.
Understanding the importance to talk about these delicate matters, one English special education teacher decided to create an emotions check-in chart that helps her students open up about their mental state on a daily basis.
Erin Castillo from San Francisco Bay Area came up with the idea after several pupils attempted or contemplated suicide at her school during her five years of teaching.
Through the use of the chart, all students are able to communicate how they feel on a specific day in a non-verbal way. They can indicate their mood by posting notes on a scale consisting of:
I’m having a hard time & wouldn’t mind a check-in
I’m in a really dark place
“So many people think they’re the only ones struggling,” Erin shared after her amazing idea went viral. “Kids need to hear that they’re not alone and what that support looks like.”
“Made this mental health check in chart after seeing @missjohnstonsjourney use a digital version for teachers on her #okayteacher Facebook page,” Erin explained on Instagram while several other teachers followed her lead and introduced the practice in their classrooms.
“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.”
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