Grades 3-5 – Critical Thinking, Stress Management, Peer Pressure, Assertiveness
Remind students that everybody experiences situations that may be difficult to manage. Point out that some people have a harder time than others dealing with these difficult times. Discuss the fact that there are positive ways and negative ways to respond to situations.
Using the ideas below, ask the students to think of positive ways to respond to the following:
- Someone teases you about your haircut.
- Nobody chooses you for a partner in gym class.
- You get frustrated really easily with math.
- You can’t seem to concentrate because something has upset you.
- Ask for more situations…
Encourage de-stressing ideas such as taking a deep breath, walking away, using assertive language to express yourself, writing down your feelings, trying another approach.
Grades 6-8 – Vocabulary, Stereotyping, Reducing Stigma
One of the biggest barriers to promoting positive mental health is the stigma that surrounds the topic. It is important that students learn to accept the notion of mental health in the same way they accept the reality of physical health.
Have students work with a partner to explore the meaning of stigma. Discuss what kind of stigma exists around the topic of mental health.
Ask students to think about ways that stigma negatively affects people (e.g., they may not seek help when they need it because they’re afraid to tell anyone they’re having problems). Ask about campaigns or activities they are aware of that aim to break down stigma around mental health. Are there any that they find especially effective? What else do they think could help reduce stigma about mental health?
The Alberta Teachers’ Association shares further lesson ideas at canwetalk.ca that can support this activity.