If there is any year to emphasize the importance of mental health awareness for students, it is undoubtedly this one. According to the NCCP, nearly one in five children in the United States show symptoms of a mental health disorder, yet 80% of them will not receive treatment.
While not a subject that is tested in school, giving students the social-emotional skills and tactics to help them better understand themselves and those around them can positively impact long-term learning and achievement.
To help educators teach Mental Health Awareness Month this May, we’ve bundled our favorite immersive learning games that help students develop, recognize, and practice good mental health.
Week 1: Support students in finding anxiety relief
Finding outlets for anxiety and stress relief is becoming more and more important in our every-day life, and how we all manage this is different. This week, play Vital Signs game 4: High Anxiety with your students. When students take on the role of the boss in this immersive workday, students are challenged with diagnosing a patient who might be suffering from Anxiety.
See the Answer Key here!
Later in the week, spark a discussion with your students to help them identify their feelings, explore strategies to manage anxiety, and make space to uplift each other with our Mental Health Awareness Supplemental lesson Anxiety Relief.
Week 2: Help students identify how to look for helpers.
Knowing you’re never alone in life is key to managing mental health. This week play Vital Signs game 10: Diagnosis Unknown! As the director, students will need to work with their team to figure out the mysterious symptoms a patient is experiencing. Answer Key.
Take it one step deeper and use Look for the Helpers supplemental lesson for students to find reassurance and hope while practicing compassion for the helpers in their communities.
Week 3: Support students in navigating complex decisions.
Being able to navigate tough decisions is a muscle that has to be built over time. This week play Community in Crisis game 9: Medical Mystery to help students build that muscle. During this game, the community center team discovers a mold issue at the community housing complex. As the director, students must decide what they should do for the apartment residents while resolving the mold issue. Answer Key.
Later in the week, reinforce the importance of making informed decisions based on multiple forms of information using this supplemental lesson plan, Prioritizing Aid.
Week 4: Show students how to manage emergencies.
Unfortunately, in life, students will at some point have to manage emergency situations. To help them prepare, play After the Storm games 1 – 4: Emergency Management. During this game, the day after a hurricane hits the town, the editor-in-chief needs to decide the best method to get vital news and information out to the community while managing staff who are also dealing with the storm’s effects. Answer Key
Take it one step deeper and reinforce reading comprehension while promoting thoughtful reflection of the decisions made during the immersive work-day with this Discussion Guide.
And that’s a wrap!
Are you planning on using Read to Lead this month to support mental health awareness and social-emotional learning in your class? Tell us on instagram or twitter @Readtoleadgames and download your free lesson bundle. PS – teachers, managing your own mental health is important too, but we’re guessing you already knew that. Play BINGO with us this month and let us know the steps you’re taking to work on your own mental health.
About Read to Lead
Read to Lead, created by the nonprofit organization, Classroom Inc., uses the power of game-based learning to empower middle school students to build literacy, life, and career skills. Teachers can sign up for a free account to get started!