Teachers have come up with a creative way to help students ask for mental health check-ins, thus providing them with a way to focus on students in need!
San Francisco, United States – Erin Castillo, a Special Education teacher with a focus on English created a board for her classroom that allows students to share their feelings each day. The teacher had seen a rise in attempted suicides at the school and wanted to provide a way for her students to ask for help.
She designed a “check-in” chart for them to notify her of where their mental health was at. The board has five options for a student to select and all they need to do is write their name on the back of a sticky note and stick it to the column that applies to how they are feeling.
The final three columns are where the power of the “check-in” chart comes from. Students who need a little extra support stick their names to the columns “I’m Struggling”, “I’m having a hard time and wouldn’t mind a check-in” and “I’m in a really dark place”.
The sticky notes not only alert her to which students need assistance but also shows the rest of the class that they are not alone in their struggles.
“Made this mental health check in chart after seeing @missjohnstonsjourney use a digital version for teachers on her #okayteacher Facebook page.
I asked my students to write their names on the back of a post-it note so I could check in with ones in the bottom two sections. I explained the green section as them struggling, but speaking to another adult or trying to work through it themselves.
“I was able to start some check-ins today, and holy cow these kids. I love them. My heart hurts for them. High school is rough sometimes, but I was happy that a few were given a safe space to vent and work through some feelings.
I also like that students could visually see that they aren’t alone in their struggles. It was a beautiful minimum day focusing on self-care and mental health.”
The chart has since been adopted by several other teachers. They too have had great success in helping the students who are struggling.
Erin Castillo has her students use the chart every Monday, she then spends the week speaking to each student. Knowing this one small chart has made the difference to so many students, has inspired us to share it here. If teachers in South Africa implement these charts as successfully as the greeting charts that went viral earlier this year, maybe more students here can also receive a helping hand.