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Question by april_spruell2002: Mental Health Class for High School students and need creative ideas of ways to teach the class?
Mental Health class activities for High School students?
I am teaching a Mental Health Class for High School students and need creative ideas of ways to teach the class.

Best answer:

Answer by Idontknow
Just whatever you do, don’t focus on mental disorders. Teens are confused enough that many of them are going to go off thinking they’re bipolar or some crazy thing when in reality only a small percentage of the teenage population is actually mentally ill. Focus on mental health. Perhaps make them do some sort of stupid skit or some crap that high school teachers love to do. Basically though, most teens are not going to find your class either interesting or worth while.

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Comments (3)

  1. Nutritionally Fortified said on 09-05-2012

    The National Alliance for the Mentally Ill has run a program for years called Educating the Next Generation. You can get lesson plans from them for a very small fee. Are you volunteering in the same program?

    I found, from volunteering in the program, that most high school students are fairly well informed about general mental illness. They were most curious to get an updated list of famous people suffering from mental illness that they can relate to.

    They responded really well to hearing personal stories from volunteers and being invited to ask questions about all types of mental illness. As volunteers we chose disorders to talk about. I often chose lesser known disorders like Substance Abuse, Borderline Personality, and Generalized Anxiety Disorder.

    The classes had short attention spans so the more engaging you are as a speaker and the more you integrate popular celebrity subjects they can relate to the better it will go.

    Eminem’s wife battled documented substance abuse and had a suicide attempt. Olympic gold medalist swimmer Ian Crocker has battled depression. Britney Spears had some kind of nervous breakdown. Heath Ledger’s death may be an example of “dual diagnosis” whether or not it was an accidental or intentional OD.

    Avoid slander and libel by researching such cases. If you are not a volunteer and simply a teacher then you can contact your local NAMI office for volunteers to come to your class and speak.

  2. Daniel said on 09-05-2012

    Mental health these days is a touchy subject. Many people seem to wear their “disorders” as medals, we of course do not want that for our teenagers.

    Personally if i were to do something about mental health in a class for high school kids i would either look at the connection between improving mental health and exercise showing that say for example having a volunteer tell you how much they think every minute on average, then have them do push ups and ask them while doing them how much they are thinking.

    Many mental disorders have to do with our attachment to our thoughts and especially with the hormonal levels in young adults trying to find their place and 1000’s of thought bubbles racing through their heads are prone to thinking they have a “disorder”.

    In stead of listening to others telling you how sick you are or “healthy” why not see how you feel and try experiment with the sensations.

    The reason many “adults” or older children create mental problems for themselves are because these “problems” used to be our survival techniques. Someone who is depressed and cannot feel anything for example most likely had a point in their lives where there was too much excitement and to keep themselves surviving had to learn the technique of shutting off sensation.

    Later in life we re use old techniques that no longer work. If you just watch people, really look at their behaviors you can start to see here and there little glimpses of childlike behavior or techniques they learned that they still hold on to.

    My best suggestion would be a small meditation exercise. Would it not be fantastic if your class would learn a technique that could help them focus, feel better and discipline their own minds. If you were to have your class close their eyes, breathe deeply and watch their own thoughts for a moment or two and then tell them as they have their eyes closed ” YOU ARE NOT YOUR THOUGHTS” check that for yourself.

    So many people identify with their thoughts. You are never your thoughts.. “YOU ARE THE ONE WHO KNOWS YOUR THOUGHTS” This technique right here can save lives. if a child thinks a depressing thought, a lot of the time the child will become depressed by it.
    This is often the start of a mental disorder. If you teach your class this one technique it could save their mental health for years to come.

    This way you can say “I am NOT my thoughts, they just come and go as a watch them”

    Feel free to check out my website on healing deep seated personal issues at

  3. Deborah O said on 09-05-2012

    May is national Mental Health Awareness Month. You could direct them each to this article, put them in groups, and have each group create a project to participate in Mental Health Awareness Month. Or they could do a whole class project that they vote on. This would not only given them hands-on experience, it would also encourage team work and volunteerism. It would also give them a start on their portfolio for college.

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