Getting teens to share what they’re going through can be difficult. That’s why one teacher developed a chart that lets her students discreetly let her know when they need help.
As Mamamia reports, Erin Castillo is a high school English teacher in the Bay Area. Recently, Castillo created a “Mental Health Check-In” chart for her students in order to give them a way to communicate their state of mind.
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.
As she later told Business Insider that over the past five years teaching at her high school, several students have attempted suicide. Castillo wanted to provide students with an anonymous way to get support. At the same time, seeing all the other students’ responses would also demonstrate that they’re not alone.
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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. ••• 💟UPDATE: just added a printable version with detail instructions so you can do this in your classroom! It’s FREE!💟 • • • #mentalhealthawareness #highschoolteacher #secondaryela #teacherorganization #teachings #anchorcharts #teachersofinstagram #teachersfollowteachers #teachersfollowingteachers #iteachtoo #teachertips #weareteachers #teacherspayteachers #teacherideas #teachingideas #specialeducationteacher #teacherlove #teach #weteachsped #teacher #iteachhighschool #elateacher #teachergoals #igteacher #igteachers #teachersofig
“So many people think they’re the only ones struggling,” Castillo told Insider. “Kids need to hear that they’re not alone and what that support looks like.”
After following up on some of the student responses on the chart, Castillo wrote:
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.
Since she posted it, Castillo’s chart has been widely shared and praised as a great way to reach out to teens. Several commenters said they planned to put a chart in their own classrooms or urge their children’s teacher to do so.
“This is such a great tool,” one commenter wrote. “I’m so excited for all the ways you’ll get to share this with others and get some adults (including myself) to start some really important conversations with kids!!”
“I absolutely love this idea!! I’m definitely going to use it!!” another wrote.
Castillo told Dearly how glad she has been to see her Mental Health Check-In chart get adopted by others:
“I have been overwhelmed with happiness! I am so encouraged to see so many teachers around the world implementing my poster.”
She added that she hopes this will help raise awareness of mental health issues and change how schools approach the topic:
“My hope is that the mental health of students will become a bigger focus of schools and classrooms and that the world will become a comfortable place to share our struggles.”