What Educators Should Know About Mental Health
Educators are often the first to notice mental health problems. Here are some ways you can help students and their families.
If you are an educator, you should know:
- The warning signs for mental health problems.
- Whom to turn to, such as the principal, school nurse, school psychiatrist or psychologist, or school social worker, if you have questions or concerns about a student’s behavior.
- How to access crisis support and other mental health services.
Behaviors to Watch For
If you observe one or more of the following behaviors, consult with a school counselor, nurse, or administrator and the student’s parents:
- Feeling very sad or withdrawn for more than two weeks
- Seriously trying to harm oneself, or making plans to do so
- Sudden overwhelming fear for no reason, sometimes with a racing heart or fast breathing
- Involvement in many fights or desire to badly hurt others
- Severe out-of-control behavior that can hurt oneself or others
- Not eating, throwing up, or using laxatives to make oneself lose weight
- Intense worries or fears that get in the way of daily activities
- Extreme difficulty concentrating or staying still that puts the student in physical danger or causes problems in the classroom
- Repeated use of drugs or alcohol
- Severe mood swings that cause problems in relationships
- Drastic changes in the student’s behavior or personality
In the Classroom
You can support the mental health of all students in your classroom and school, not just individual students who may exhibit behavioral issues. Consider the following actions:
- Educate staff, parents, and students on symptoms of and help for mental health problems
- Promote social and emotional competency and build resilience
- Help ensure a positive, safe school environment
- Teach and reinforce positive behaviors and decision-making
- Encourage helping others
- Encourage good physical health
- Help ensure access to school-based mental health supports
Source: MentalHealth.gov| Talk About Metal Health for Educators, https://www.mentalhealth.gov/talk/educators | U.S. Department of Health & Human Services last revised 03/22/2019
To schedule an evaluation or to get advice about your child’s challenges, call or email a CHC Clinical Services Coordinator at 650.688.3625 or firstname.lastname@example.org