Teaching Resources for Mental Health Awareness

By outhWell/ Teachers, Parents Train in Youth Mental Health First Aid in Santa Barbara County

Dr. David Childs, D.D., Ph.D.
Northern Kentucky University

Even though we are well into the twenty-first century there is a lack of awareness and information about mental health, and a stigma associated with mental illness. That is, people are often comfortable acknowledging and addressing physical illnesses and disabilities, but are slow to acknowledge and address mental disabilities. As such, individuals cannot be properly treated or often do not get the help they need.  

Image by Lakeshore Public Radio | By Dee Dotson

Stressors Unique to Our Day
The month of May has been designated as mental health month. Whether it is May or not, mental health awareness as well as treatment and coping strategies are always in order. With the COVID-19 pandemic lingering on, a virus that caused the world to be in quarantine and social distance for nearly two years, we should be more concerned about our mental health. What are the effects on the mental health of our youth? What are the long term effects of social distancing and quarantine? Other factors such as online learning, natural disasters and recent mass shootings have also taken a toll on the mental health of our youth. PBS Learning Media has created videos and teaching resources to address specific aspects of mental health related to youth. Below we have also included teaching and learning resources from other sites. 

Even though more people understand that mental illness is
caused by brain biology, it still carries a stigma. iStockphoto.com

Suicide Prevention: How Can Schools Help? | Above the Noise
“No one wants to talk about it, but suicide is a leading cause of death among teens. The good news is, schools are uniquely positioned to help. Student reporters from PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Labs investigate what schools can do. Have your students watch the video and respond to the question in KQED Learn. Sensitive: This resource contains material that may be sensitive for some students. Teachers should exercise discretion in evaluating whether this resource is suitable for their class.”

Why Is Each Generation Getting Lonelier? | Above the Noise
“Did you know Gen Z is the loneliest generation on record? And, yes, this was true before the pandemic. (Also true: There is an actual survey that measures teen loneliness.) Loneliness can be tough to deal with, and its causes are hard to nail down. But, as usual, Myles has data to analyze and evidence to evaluate. Once you hear it, let us know what you think. Why is Gen Z so lonely? And what can be done about it?”

Stressin’ Out! | Spot on Science
“Stressing out over an upcoming test or a big game at school? Dr. Lisa Rameriz explains how stress can actually be a good thing and what to do when it turns toxic.”

Can Trauma Be Passed to the Next Generation Through DNA?
“Learn about the genetic factors that may make a person more prone to anxiety with this video and educational resources from PBS NewsHour from August 30, 2015.”

Idris Mitchell | Mysteries of Mental Illness
“Learn how Idris Mitchell came to terms with his bipolar disorder many years after his diagnosis and how he now monitors and manages his illness, in this video from Decolonizing Mental Health.”

The Hidden Pandemic Documentary
“For more than a year, COVID-19 has dominated headlines as it has steadily killed hundreds of thousands of Americans. Behind the scenes, another deadly illness, already worsening dramatically in recent years, has spread like wildfire during lockdown. Kansas City PBS shines a light on this continued threat with The Hidden Pandemic, a documentary focusing on the lives of Kansas Citians navigating mental illness. Through personal interviews with patients and the health care professionals who treat them, The Hidden Pandemic uncovers challenges faced on the journey to improving and maintaining mental health.”

Other Mental Health Awareness Teaching and Learning Resources
133 Mental Health and Learning Resources for Kids and Teens
Mental Health Resources For Adolescents and Young Adults
Be the Change: Mental Health Lessons
Teaching About Mental Health Awareness (Month)
Search Social Emotional Lesson Plans
Social-Emotional Learning Lesson Plans for Elementary Classrooms

Discussion Questions

1. How important is mental health awareness in today’s society? How important is being aware of mental health and having resources in public schools?

2. How does a stigma against mental health prevent effective treatment?

We are open to feedback and discussion. If you see any typos or grammatical errors please feel free to email the author and editor at the address below.

Dr. David Childs


  1. As someone who wants to become a mental health therapist, this article stood out to me because mental health is beyond important, I know people feel like we talk too much about mental health or that we don’t talk enough about it. It’s still a constant battle people are facing every single day we have to continue to work and make sure that we continue to keep ourselves healthy mentally and physically because if one part of us is not healthy and we don’t work towards getting better it affects us and those around us so this article really proved and showed out about mental health.

  2. I think mental health is extremely important. People can carry these burdens with them without being able to get help because of the stigma of what mental health is. School is a place where kids go everyday for years. It’s a place where they make connections with others. They need to learn and feel comfortable to be able to talk with others without the stigma.

  3. Mental health is extremely important to any person. Covid-19 brought a lot of bad, but it also brought awareness to the topic in a very deep way. Being away from friends and family, being away from work or losing your job, and staying in your house with less social interaction- it tears at you a lot! I personally got myself into therapy due to my anxiety and depression getting increasingly worse. Talking about my feelings online only to be met with kindness and people that were having the same feelings as I made me feel less alone. Trauma is something that has been talked about more than ever! It’s so healing to know that you have support through all this.

  4. I really like this article because it talks about mental health and someone who deals with it, I find this article very important. I feel like even though some people talk about how much mental health is important, its not talked about as much and I feel like it is not addressed enough. So many people struggled especially during COVID and in todays world. Mental health is something a lot of students struggle with and it has got more common then it used to be. I liked this article a lot.

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