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Resources for Navigating Mental Health in the Classroom



This Mental Health Awareness Month, the Mission Society is highlighting the importance of our educators and their well-being. Each day, these compassionate individuals come to school and go above and beyond to ensure the needs of students and families are met. Undertaking these complex efforts can be emotionally demanding, and there is still a lack of in-depth resources being funneled into our classrooms. That is why it’s invaluable for our communities to come together and demonstrate to educators that their mental health matters. 


Previously, we discussed some of the ways we can advocate for educators– like speaking to city council representatives, pushing for higher salaries, and asking for dedicated professionals in schools who can facilitate support programs. 


Today, we want to spread the word about incredible mental health resources readily available  online, including impactful articles, supportive social media communities, and direct lines to assistance. We hope these resources can serve as a stepping stone for  educators and individuals to develop healthier practices, become advocates for the well-being of others, or find an encouraging place to turn to in times of need. 



Find Mental Health Helplines & Crisis Prevention

 

For New York City residents, 988 provides access to free, confidential crisis counseling, mental health and substance use support, along with useful information and referrals. The toll-free line operates  24 hours a day, 7 days a week, insurance is not required, and assistance in various  languages is available via phone, text, and online chat. For national suicide prevention information and resources, The SAM Foundation has curated many educational articles, helplines, trainings, and more. 


Build Mindfulness into the School Day


Incorporating mindfulness exercises into the regular school day can be transformative for both educators and students, providing tools for stress reduction and emotional regulation. This article shares information on research, best practices, and linked resources on the topic. Breathe for Change also has articles, training opportunities, and video-based wellness exercises made specifically for use in the classroom. 


Discover Your Social Media Community


It is incredibly empowering and vital to our well-being to find other individuals who are experiencing similar challenges and triumphs, as well as speaking on the issues that are most relevant to our lives. For educators, there are so many communities forming across social media platforms focused on discussing the teaching experience, sharing classroom tools, and reporting on news from the field. To connect with fellow educators, we recommend following groups like We Are Teachers, Edutopia, Teacher2Teacher, and Teach & Kids Learn


Seek Out Educational Opportunities


We can gain a better understanding of navigating mental health in the classroom by seeking out organizations addressing these topics head on. One example is NAMI, which has 700 NAMI State Organizations and Affiliates who work within their communities to “raise awareness and provide support and education to those in need”, and fight to end the stigma surrounding mental illness. 


Additionally, the NYC Metro chapter of NAMI facilitates an initiative called Workplace Mental Health that trains employers on how to make safe spaces focused on the well-being of employees–a powerful way to approach these issues in schools and build better environments for educators. 


Join a Community Education Council


One way New York City residents can keep this topic top of mind and push for more mental health support for our educators is to get involved in a local community education council. These are, “education policy advisory bodies responsible for reviewing and evaluating their district’s educational programs and holding public hearings on certain matters”. By getting more involved on a government level and working towards systemic change, one individual can be part of making profound strides for educators’ futures.

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