I’ve been thinking a lot about mental health and wellness since our mental health symposium facilitated by Alec Couros. Thinking about and discussing mental health is so important. This day was a culmination of five months of meeting with students and staff to discuss what we would like to do. I’ll share more about that later. Check here for some more information on our symposium. Our teachers , counsellors, students and Alec worked very hard to share with the whole school the importance of mental health.
Thanks to Kevin , my twitter friend I noticed this tweet:
There are so many things in the article that resonate with me and things I believe high school students , teachers and staff need to know about mental health.
1. Stigma matters: We need to teach students how to pay attention to facts not myths when it comes to mental health
2. Media can either lift up or tear down our understanding of mental health. That’s why we held a mental health symposium and tied it to social media and digital citizenship.
Our students were empowered to use social media to develop mental health literacy skills and to break through some of the stigma around mental health.
3. We need students to understand the difference between a mental health problem, mental health distress and a mental health disorder. Thanks to Stan Kutcher’s materials students can explore and discover the differences. Let’s begin to STOP over pathologizing.
4. We must continue to dialogue about this important issue.
By having elementary students involved in this symposium , they could see that our students were modelling that mental health and wellness is important. Digital Citizenship was experienced and shared.
We know students find most of their mental health information on line, so we need to assist students in finding valuable information that will help them. Mental Health Literacy and Digital Literacy are extremely important. We want students to understand both.
Thanks to #DCMOOC I can tie these two literacies together even more.
IMPORTANT THINGS TO KNOW: According to media smarts Matthew Johnson:
- If there is a rule in the home about respecting others online students will more than likely engage in positive online behaviour.
- Focus should be on ethics , rather than scare tactics.
- We can encourage empathy. We need to understand that online we are often missing cues that help us feel empathy . We fall into empathy traps online where we are missing the facial cues, tone of voice , body language etc … Students need to understand this.
- Don’t be a bystander … be an upstander .
- ” Many problematic behaviours-bullying, sexting, plagiarism etc. are less common than students think” Knowing this will help the rates drop.
- To be a citizen means students need to understand and exercise their rights.
- Let’s help students be involved in civic debates on and off line. We need them to have the skills to be able to do this.
- Give students opportunities to contribute positively online by not blocking sites that can help them.
- They need to know how to interact positively in gaming communities. As a member of a community they can change how a community behaves. They can be empowered to act in a pro-active way.
- Students need privacy policies explained to them. I would guess that many teachers need these explained too.
- Young people need to know that they have rights to freedom of discrimination, they have the right to be free. Girls often have different experiences on line. Boys and girls have the rights to be free from harassment. Students have a right to be heard. Students need a chance to present their works to authentic audiences. Students have a right to education. Most importantly an education that uses digital technology to explore and understand their world.
- Students need to know … it is OK to make mistakes.
Thanks so much to Matthew for sharing his expertise.
I believe students when on line and off line need to be good citizens which will in turn affect their positive mental health and well being. Let’s continue the dialogue.