Empowering Youth Mental Health: Introducing MHA’s Back to School 2023 Toolkit
In the ever-evolving landscape of education and technology, it’s crucial for everyone involved, parents and caregivers, and young people, to collaborate effectively in nurturing the mental well-being of our youth. Mental Health America (MHA) understands this challenge, and that’s why they’ve designed the Back to School Toolkit – a comprehensive resource to empower everyone in this journey. This year’s focus is Youth and Technology.
For Schools: Shaping the Future Leaders
Educational institutions play a pivotal role in the lives of young people, and they can leverage the toolkit to create a safer, more nurturing environment:
- Key Messages for Teachers: Equip your educators with the training they need by using the toolkit as a guide for presentations.
- Fact Sheets for Adults: Share these at PTA meetings to ensure parents and caregivers are informed about their children’s mental health and technology use.
- Posters and Resources Guides: Create a visible presence of mental health support in your school by displaying posters and providing resources in hallways, teacher lounge, and other student and staff areas.
- Back to School posters (PDF)
- Lesson Plans: Develop lesson plans based on the toolkit’s information to guide students in understanding the intricacies of mental health and responsible online behavior.
- Collaboration with MHA Affiliates: Feel free to contact us at Mental Health America of Putnam County to see what might be possible. Ideas include school training, assemblies, or awareness programs for students and parents, helping build a mentally healthy community.
- Utilize MHA Resources: Share social media images from the toolkit to increase awareness and consider implementing the MHA Screening program within your school, providing students and staff with a free resource for mental health assessments.
- Encourage Webinar Participation: MHA webinars cover various youth mental health-related topics and can be accessed online
For Parents and Caregivers: The Compassionate Guides
Parents and caregivers are the primary influences on a child’s use of technology. Here’s how to use the toolkit effectively:
- Educate Yourself: You don’t need to understand every social media trend; your empathy and support matter most.
- MHA’s Online Screening for Parents: If you suspect your child is struggling, visit mhascreening.org for free, quick, and private online screenings, including one entitled “Parent Test: Your Child’s Mental Health” to gauge if they are having emotional, attentional, or behavioral difficulties. All the screenings provide valuable insights and next steps.
- Local MHA Affiliate Programs: Explore MHAoPC’s youth-focused programs that benefit your child.
- “Where to Start” Book: Consider purchasing MHA’s “Where to Start” book for your child to provide direction and resources if they are struggling.
- Stay Informed: Follow MHA on social media, attend webinars, listen to the In the Open Podcast, or keep up with their blogs for free resources on youth mental health-related topics.
- Share Resources: Extend your support network by sharing the toolkit and its resources with other parents or parent groups you are connected to.
For Young People: Your Journey Matters
Young people, your journey in the digital world is unique, and the toolkit is designed with you in mind:
- Social Media Do’s: Review the “Social Media Do’s” list to build a healthier relationship with social media and technology.
- Immediate Help Resources: If you are struggling and need support, explore the immediate help resources, MHA resources, and the toolkit to find the right support for your current needs.
- Take a Mental Health Test: Visit mhascreening.org to take a quick and free online mental health test. It’s a crucial step to understand your feelings better and discover available resources.
- Connect with Local Resources: Mental Health America of Putnam County (Indiana) can help you find mental health resources in our area. Start with our Finding Help webpage.
- Express Yourself: Participate in the Walgreens Expression Challenge, using art, writing, spoken word, or multimedia to share your perspective on mental health topics.
- Explore MHA’s Youth Section: Visit the youth section of MHA’s website at mhanational.org/youth for more tailored information and resources. Explore these resources:
MHA’s Back to School Toolkit is a powerful resource that brings everyone together to create a mentally healthy environment, both online and offline. We can foster resilience, empathy, and support for the next generation by understanding the unique challenges young people face in the digital age. Let’s unlock the potential of this toolkit and build a brighter future for our youth.
For more information and support: If you or someone you know is in crisis, please call 911, go to the nearest emergency room, text “MHA” to 741741, or call 988 or 211 in Indiana to reach a 24-hour crisis support. Your mental health matters and help is always available. See our page on Crisis Resources for more detailed information on Phone, Text or Chat options.