Each week during the month of May, we will be making a suggestion for a Mental Health awareness activity. Week 1: Starting the conversation with young children.
Mary, one of our followers and Mental Health First Aiders, is a school teacher who was looking for ways to start the conversation about mental health with her young students. Her idea is a great one! Every day for a month, she gives her students a piece of paper with two blank faces. First, she instructs her students to draw the eyes, mouth, and nose on the face on the left which shows how the student feels that day. Then, on the face on the right, she asks the student to draw a specific face of the day, alternating between happy, sad, confused, loved, scared, hurt, excited, healthy, sick, crying, smiling…. Then, they have a short conversation about what the “face emotion” might mean. Every day, she tells her students that every one of those feelings is okay, and that everyone will feel them at times.
Mary has found that her students have become much more likely to talk with her about their feelings and has started using this technique in both November and in May to facilitate the mental health conversation at a very young age. She is reducing stigma by making it okay to talk about mental illness as every day conversation. Thanks for the tip, Mary! Keep up the great work!