"Unexpressed emotions will never die. They are buried alive and will come forth later in uglier ways."
Mental health is a topic that we a society do not seem to like talking about. There is so much stigma around it which continues despite the high-profiile people who have come out expressing how they are battling with it, the high-profile suicides on the back of depression that have occurred in recent years, and the work that organisations such as Lifeline, Beyond Blue, and The Black Dog have done to raise awareness of the legitimacy of mental health.
When I sat down to write my presentation for FlipCon during the week after EduTech it was all I could think about, was mental health and the impact that student-teacher relationships can have on our students' mental health. There was nothing else coming to mind, every idea that came up ended up leading back to mental health and so I worked with that and delivered a speech that I am, content wise, quite happy with.
It generated some very interesting discussions about mental health that I do not think would have come up otherwise and I wonder how many teachers would like to be able to do more about this issue but do not know where to start.
Abraham Maslow's 1943 article A Theory of Human Motivation was the world's introduction to the now famous Hierarchy of Needs and it changed the way many people, especially educators, understand of childrens' socio-emotional development and is still a core component of many educational psychology courses.
There are many resources available to educators to help understand how to deal with mental health challenges in their students, how to appropriately teach strategies for working through mental health issues, and for pointing students towards appropriate help. BeyondBlue have a Secondary Schools program; and as part of the masterclass with Jane Burns, we spent time talking about a range of options available to both students and teachers that can support mental health strategies, which you can read about here.
If you know someone struggling with mental health, please do not delay in helping them seek treatment. Give it the same consideration you would a physical illness.