We all have Mental Health!
NYS requires schools to include mental health instruction, including the multiple dimensions of mental health, to be taught as part of the required K-12 health education for all students in public and private schools. It includes a holistic view of mental health ensuring that students “recognize the multiple dimensions of health by including mental health, and the relationship of physical health and mental health, so as to enhance student understanding, attitudes and behaviors that promote health, well-being and human dignity.” According to the National Institute of Mental Health, nearly half of all youth will experience a mental health challenge before the age of 18. We all have mental health, and we all benefit from greater understanding of how we can support our own mental health and wellness and that of others.
Myth: Mental health problems don’t affect me.
Fact: Mental health problems are actually very common. In 2014, about:
- One in five American adults experienced a mental health issue
- One in 10 young people experienced a period of major depression
- One in 25 Americans lived with a serious mental illness, such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or major depression
Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States. It accounts for the loss of more than 41,000 American lives each year, more than double the number of lives lost to homicide. Learn more about mental health problems.
Myth: Children don’t experience mental health problems.
Fact: Even very young children may show early warning signs of mental health concerns. These mental health problems are often clinically diagnosable, and can be a product of the interaction of biological, psychological, and social factors.
Half of all mental health disorders show first signs before a person turns 14 years old, and three quarters of mental health disorders begin before age 24.
Unfortunately, less than 20% of children and adolescents with diagnosable mental health problems receive the treatment they need. Early mental health support can help a child before problems interfere with other developmental needs.
Myth: People with mental health problems are violent and unpredictable.
Fact: The vast majority of people with mental health problems are no more likely to be violent than anyone else. Most people with mental illness are not violent and only 3%-5% of violent acts can be attributed to individuals living with a serious mental illness. In fact, people with severe mental illnesses are over 10 times more likely to be victims of violent crime than the general population. You probably know someone with a mental health problem and don’t even realize it, because many people with mental health problems are highly active and productive members of our communities.
Myth: People with mental health needs, even those who are managing their mental illness, cannot tolerate the stress of holding down a job.
Fact: People with mental health problems are just as productive as other employees. Employers who hire people with mental health problems report good attendance and punctuality as well as motivation, good work, and job tenure on par with or greater than other employees.
When employees with mental health problems receive effective treatment, it can result in:
- Lower total medical costs
- Increased productivity
- Lower absenteeism
- Decreased disability costs
Myth: Personality weakness or character flaws cause mental health problems. People with mental health problems can snap out of it if they try hard enough.
Fact: Mental health problems have nothing to do with being lazy or weak and many people need help to get better. Many factors contribute to mental health problems, including:
- Biological factors, such as genes, physical illness, injury, or brain chemistry
- Life experiences, such as trauma or a history of abuse
- Family history of mental health problems
People with mental health problems can get better and many recover completely.
Myth: There is no hope for people with mental health problems. Once a friend or family member develops mental health problems, he or she will never recover.
Fact: Studies show that people with mental health problems get better and many recover completely. Recovery refers to the process in which people are able to live, work, learn, and participate fully in their communities. There are more treatments, services, and community support systems than ever before, and they work.
Myth: Therapy and self-help are a waste of time. Why bother when you can just take a pill?
Fact: Treatment for mental health problems varies depending on the individual and could include medication, therapy, or both. Many individuals work with a support system during the healing and recovery process.
Myth: I can’t do anything for a person with a mental health problem.
Fact: Friends and loved ones can make a big difference. Only 44% of adults with diagnosable mental health problems and less than 20% of children and adolescents receive needed treatment. Friends and family can be important influences to help someone get the treatment and services they need by:
- Reaching out and letting them know you are available to help
- Helping them access mental health services
- Learning and sharing the facts about mental health, especially if you hear something that isn’t true
- Treating them with respect, just as you would anyone else
- Refusing to define them by their diagnosis or using labels such as “crazy”
Myth: Prevention doesn’t work. It is impossible to prevent mental illnesses.
Fact: Prevention of mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders focuses on addressing known risk factors such as exposure to trauma that can affect the chances that children, youth, and young adults will develop mental health problems. Promoting the social-emotional well-being of children and youth leads to:
- Higher overall productivity
- Better educational outcomes
- Lower crime rates
- Stronger economies
- Lower health care costs
- Improved quality of life
- Increased lifespan
- Improved family life
For more information on Mental Health go to https://www.mentalhealth.gov/basics/mental-health-myths-facts
SAMHSA defines wellness not as the absence of disease, illness, or stress but the presence of purpose in life, active involvement in satisfying work and play, joyful relationships, a healthy body and living environment, and happiness. SAMHSA Eight Dimensions of Wellness are: Emotional, Social, Spiritual, Occupational, Intellectual, Financial, Environmental and Physical. Click here to view the 3 minute video on the Eight Dimensions of Wellness.
Classroom WISE https://www.classroomwise.org/ A mental health training resource for Educators.
Classroom WISE is a 3-part training package that includes a FREE self-paced online course, video library featuring practicing teachers and students, comprehensive resource collection and website for K-12 educators on mental health literacy.
The Classroom WISE online course begins with a brief introduction video on why this work is important and why teachers matter in supporting the well-being of students. The course then proceeds with six modules covering the following:
- Promoting the Mental Health and Well-Being of Students
- Creating safe and supportive classrooms
- Teaching mental health literacy and reducing stigma
- Fostering social emotional competencies and well-being
- Understanding and Supporting Students Experiencing Adversity and Distress
- Understanding and supporting students experiencing adversity
- The impact of trauma and adversity on learning behavior
- Classroom strategies to support students
Classroom WISE was developed by the MHTTC Network (Mental Health Technology Transfer Center, SAMHSA) and the National Center for School Mental Health.
School Mental Health Project (SMHP) was created in 1986 to pursue theory, research, practice and training related to addressing mental health and psychosocial concerns through school-based interventions.
National Center for School Mental Health School Mental Health is designed for use by anyone who is interested in school mental health.
The mission of the National Center for School Mental Health (NCSMH) is to strengthen policies and programs in school mental health to improve learning and promote success for America's youth.
CDC Fostering School Connectedness Fact Sheet identifies six strategies that teachers, administrators, other school staff, and parents can implement to increase the extent to which students feel connected to school.
School Mental Health Resource Training Center - Educating Students About Mental Health
The Mental Health Association in New York State, Inc. (MHANYS) has established the School Mental Health Resource and Training Center to support all NYS public and private schools to implement Chapter 390 of the Laws of 2016, requiring mental health instruction as part of the K-12 health curricula. The Center staff and project partners are committed to helping schools:
- Comply with the required mental health education of students
- Identify resources and develop mental health lesson plans/curriculum
- Develop and implement a plan for professional development
- Establish community partnerships to support mental health education and services
- Engage and support families
Feel Your Best Self https://feelyourbestself.collaboration.uconn.edu/ A elementary classroom-based resource for K to 5.
FYBS is designed for elementary-aged kids as an educational toolkit for learning strategies to calm yourself, catch your feelings, and connect with others. The FYBS strategies offer fun and easy ways to help kids (and grown-ups) experience lifts in emotions, feeling, or mood. Using FYBS, kids explore different strategies to find those that work best to help them navigate different situations to feel their best self.
Just Breathe Mindfulness Website with brief mindfulness videos for adults and youth.
Promoting Mental Wellness! End the day practicing the skill with your class!
Additional information and resources provided.