Blogs on Mental Health

Blogs on Mental HealthRSS
Steve GardinerApril 16, 2014

Watching a classroom of students working is fascinating. There are students who are engaged, who focus on the task and forge ahead. They get the job done on time, every time. There are other students who start working but get distracted. They work briefly, but as soon as the work becomes difficult or challenging, they give up. They look for help, or they refuse to even try.

What is the difference?

Read More
Dr. Michele BorbaMarch 24, 2014

The best way to reduce bullying is not with a one-time assembly or a poster campaign, but with homegrown, data-driven, sustained efforts by a caring, committed staff -- a model I call the six R's, a blueprint for effective bullying prevention. I've shared this model with hundreds of educators worldwide, and on U.S. Army bases. Each "R" is crucial in creating what our students deserve -- a safe, caring learning environment that breeds acceptance and respect.

Read More
Nicholas ProvenzanoFebruary 24, 2014

Too often, I've heard teachers talk about how helpless they feel when it comes to reaching out to their students. The days of being the person whose job it is to exclusively provide students with an education -- and nothing more -- are long over. Honestly, some will say those days never existed. I've never wavered in my belief that teachers are much more than people passing out curriculum. For some students, school is the best part of their day because it offers an escape from their life at home. As teachers, it's important for us to understand that there is so much more to students than the life they lead in class, and it is important to show interest in a student outside of the day's homework. Here are three simple things a teacher can do to connect with students and let them know there is more to school than just a report card.

Read More
Lori DesautelsFebruary 6, 2014

In the mid-1950s, humanistic psychologist Abraham Maslow created a theory of basic, psychological and self-fulfillment needs that motivate individuals to move consciously or subconsciously through levels or tiers based on our inner and outer satisfaction of those met or unmet needs. As a parent and educator, I find this theory eternally relevant for students and adults, especially in our classrooms. After studying it over the past couple of years, my graduate and undergraduate students have decided that every classroom should display a wall-sized diagram of the pyramid, as students and teachers alike place pins and post-its on the varying tiers based on their own feelings, behaviors and needs. What do actual brain-compatible strategies look like on this pyramid?

Read More
Lisa Flook, PhDJanuary 22, 2014

Editor's note: Simon Goldberg, Lisa Flook's colleague at UW-Madison's Center for Investigating Healthy Minds, contributed to this post.

It's 6:00 AM on a frigid Monday in mid-January. You know the feeling -- the darkness outside, as if you're moving through molasses, slogging through just to get out of bed. Through your morning ritual, you're finally at school. And it's just the beginning of a long, grueling day, in a seemingly endless week, and a never-ending year. You find that you don't have much patience for your students, frustrated with what feels like their commitment to making your life difficult. You feel isolated and alone, unsupported and up against something much bigger than you can handle -- in a phrase, burned out.

Read More
Nicholas ProvenzanoJanuary 21, 2014

We have entered the second half of the school year, and many of you are probably surprised that you've made it this far without killing someone. Those are very natural feelings, but you might not be able to last the rest of the school year if that's where your mind is at the moment. After ten years in the classroom, I've put together what I think are some excellent tips for making it through the second half of the school year in one piece -- and not in jail. See which of these strategies can make the next six months a piece of cake in your classroom.

Read More
Mark PhillipsJanuary 13, 2014

I think that one of the greatest challenges for teachers, including many of the best, is being frequently frustrated and self-critical because of personal expectations that they can never fully meet.

In his book Compassion and Self-Hate, the psychologist Theodore Rubin presents what he describes as indirect forms of self-hate. These are illusions we have about who we are supposed to be and unrealistic expectations of what we can accomplish. He includes, as one example, the illusion that if you have enough money, you'll be happy. Another is the illusion that physical beauty insures relational happiness. Each illusion he describes results in unrealistic expectations that make us self-critical and unhappy.

Read More
Florina RodovJanuary 6, 2014

As I uttered the last syllable of the searing Holocaust passage in Night by Elie Wiesel, where Yuliek plays his violin amidst a sea of dead and dying men, and Beethoven's concerto concluded on my laptop, a sigh sounded from one of my sophomores. Basie was a tiny figure shrouded in a hoodie, sleeves pulled over his minuscule hands. He never said much before, but now pushed his hoodie slightly off his eyes and mused about how art infuses beauty into even the most depraved situations.

Read More
Damian MarlowDecember 23, 2013

Editor's note: Mary MartinezSmith, an eighth grader at Axtell Park Middle School in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, co-authored this post.

Not very many people really know what it's like to do something that affects not only hundreds, but thousands. Some would say those with big dreams, simply put, are just dreamers. Others might say teenagers who dream big are trying to do something beyond their power. Many people would like to say they not only had that dream, but they accomplished it. Yet few actually can. We, Mary MartinezSmith and Damian Marlow, are proud to say we are two of those few people. The catch? We did it just by putting sticky notes with positive messages on every locker in our school.

Read More
Dr. Kimberlee RatliffNovember 20, 2013

After the Sandy Hook tragedy, President Obama called for increased mental health support in school settings. Counselors are qualified to work with students in individual counseling, small group counseling and large group support. Besides being leaders, advocates, collaborators and systemic change agents, counselors have training in crisis intervention and are often called upon to assist in small- and large-scale crisis situations. However, if school counselors are engaged in too many non-counseling duties, then their effectiveness is reduced.

Read More