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Student Well-Being: Integrating Mental Health into the Course Curriculum

Mental health and wellness are at the forefront of concern on all school campuses.  Educators should be deliberate in supporting positive mental health in the classroom so that students feel safe and supported to express their needs and struggles. The classroom can be a space to provide skills, strategies, and resources that promote mental wellness. 

Here are some tips for enhancing mental wellness in the classroom: 

  1. Create a Classroom Open Forum 

Discussion forums where students can post questions or concerns, start group discussions, or ask for help can be a great place to start.   In the forum, you can promote conversations about mental health, stress management, or time management with a video or podcast.  Encourage student input by posing a question or posting a prompt so they can learn strategies from one another within the forum.   

2. Make Campus Resources Available 

Ensure students have easy access to important campus resources by including links to student health and counseling services, tutoring, and financial aid within the course syllabus and online course learning platforms.

3. Introduce Mindful Activities 

Create activities that allow students to practice and reflect on mindfulness.  This could include meditation activities at the start or at the end of a class that helps students relax and focus, or journaling activities give students time to express their thoughts and reflect back on them at a later time.  Mindful practice and follow-up reflection activities are a good way to allow students an opportunity to try a variety of strategies and see what resonates best for them.  

4. Be Available for Student Support 

As an educator, make student wellness a priority.  Students will often come to you as the first line of support, so it can be helpful to maintain regular office hours in an effort to be available as a resource for your students.  Ensure that you locate necessary campus support services and be prepared to guide students to those resources as needed.   

Learn about McGraw Hill's partnership with the JED Foundation which has more tips here

About the Author

Amy Jamieson MS, CPT, PES, Certified Nutritionist AASDN Santa Barbara, CA Amy Jamieson is the Department Chair and faculty member at UC Santa Barbara in the department of Exercise and Sports Studies. She has over 20years experience in the wellness and fitness industry and spends most of her time working as a lecturer and educator. Amy holds a Master’s Degree in Exercise and Health Science with an emphasis in performance enhancement and injury prevention. In addition, she is a certified Nutritionist through the AASDN and serves as the MyPlate Ambassador at UC Santa Barbara. Amy is the chair of the ESS Wellness Committee, responsible for creating and implementing student wellness-based programs and resources including the upgraded Wellness and Fitness Institute designed to provide a platform for academic learning and student wellness education. Amy’s enthusiasm in the field of fitness and wellness encompasses experience in nutrition, pre/post-natal fitness, youth fitness, senior fitness, post-rehab training, sports specific training, posture, alignment, and stabilization training as well as general fitness and health. Her broad education and experience in the field provides students with numerous fieldwork and hands-on internships in the field of health, wellness, and fitness.

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