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Module Template

Mental Health for Students and Teachers

Welcome to Module 3:

How do I earn my digital badge?
(make this a button with a pop up window on each module - with instructions - post on every interactive board, read articles at end (min) prior to seminar engage in discussion etc.)

Mental Health for Students and Teachers

​     EDIT THIS....The goal of this module is to examine and understand how we can determine what our diverse students need to feel safe and represented in the material. Research tells us that creating and maintaining a positive learning environment; building a learning community; giving consistent feedback in a timely manner; and using the right technology to deliver the right content (Nafukho & Chakraborty, 2014) are key factors in strengthening student engagement in online courses. This module will provide you with the information and opportunities to develop your personalized pedagogical approach towards building healthy, safe, and inclusive Physical Education communities via distance learning.

The Big Ideas

1- Building Blocks

Starting the Conversation about Mental Health in PHE

Edit this.....Teaching has rapidly evolved and the pace of technological change means our pedagogy will always include a digital component.  Whether it's using google classroom, sharing and editing each other's work online, or working through an online activity, students need to become good digital citizens to communicate now and in the future.


Physical Educators are in a unique position to coach and teach digital skills for the 21C - skills such as teamwork, creativity, problem-solving, negotiation and more are all included in the World Economic Forum list of skills needed to thrive in the 4th Industrial Revolution. As educators, it is our role to set the foundation of building blocks to help students become smart, conscientious, and innovative beings both behind the screen and in person.


Who experiences Mental Health?  And what is it?

Mental Health affect each and everyone one of us, we take care of our physical health so why not take care of our mental health.  This module aims to shed light on several key topics that are arising in our schools now and provide you with resources, lesson ideas and professional discussions about these topics.  Although we would like to speak in depth about how to help each and every student we simply can’t explore everything within this single module.  Please make use of the links provided for more specific information

Kindergarten - Grade 8

Grade 9 - Higher Education

Student's Living with ASD

LGBTQIA+ Students

Students suffering from Eating disorders

Students living with Autism

Recovering from an aquired brain injury or concussion


Checking in with our Community

This module wouldn't serve it's purpose if we didn't take care of our community and check-in with everyone enrolled with PHEWISE's microcredentials.  Checking in may seem such a small gesture but it can have a huge impact on the mood, mental health and overall disposition of the student, co-worker, family or friend you are checking in with. 

just-checking-in-journal image.jpg

Please take a few moments to answer the questions below


1. How are you feeling today, really? Physically and mentally.

2. What’s taking up most of your headspace right now?

3. What was your last full meal, and have you been drinking enough water?

4. How have you been sleeping?

5. What have you been doing for exercise?

6. What did you do today that made you feel good?

7. What’s something you can do today that would be good for you?

8. What’s something you’re looking forward to in the next few days?

9. What’s something we can do together this week, even if we’re apart?

10. What are you grateful for right now?

Activity - Identify my risk factors/create your own self check

In answering the questions above, did you find some resonated more with you?  Fit your lifestyle more than others?  Students will probably feel the same way.  We often know what our triggers are, or things we need to make sure we are doing them to stay our healthiest physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.  Which is why having students create their own list of check ins could be an eye opening experience.  They may think they are doing great, eating good food all the time, moderating their social media and computer game usage but in reality it isn't until we take a step back, do we really see the big picture.

We don't need to tell you that every student is different, which is why having them develop questions could reflect specific things they need to keep track of, for example:

1) What was your sleep quality?

2) Have you taken tech breaks lately? (no tech before bed, or not using a certain app)

3) Have you scheduled your time appropriately by giving yourself breaks?

4) What are your emotional and physical pain scores today?

5) Nature, pets , spiritual beliefs, etc.

6) Are you staying hydrated?


Try this activity for your self, using the list of questions above, add questions that suit your personality and things you should be doing to stay in a positive mental state or omitt any questions you feel that don't apply to you or you don't need to be monitoring it.


These questions may seem simple, but to someone having a difficult day, week or even a difficult year, the simple act of checking in could go a long way. 


Activity - Identify my risk factors


teahchers can have students make their own check list up...  to assess their behviour (dot journal..  )

wont use this with all students, maybe implement this with certain students that need it..  this way they can reflect back on a week and see when things started to go bad)

NOTE: before i create the student list,. look at the breainstorming doc.

add in "is my school a MH school"

Activity #2 - Padlet & Student Activity The Check in Buddy

All of us have gone through tough times, and whether we were teaching or just living through it, the COVID pandemic played havoc on our social, emotional and mental states. 

Watch the video and reflect on how you may have felt yourself going through all the lock downs, and how you may have helped students through it.  As you modified your teaching style to accommodate for online teaching what were some ways you tried to help students?  Did you create a drop in? Stay late after class or start early ?  The social presence of an online community plays a big role in the well being of online students, and even through the world is some what recovered, those experiences of being withdrawn still linger.

Use this padlet to share how you tried to help your students either teaching online or in person.

Just as you have all demonstrated the responsibility to check in with your students in the padlet activity, this activity will teach them how it's also their responsibitiy to check in with those they care about.  Even if someone doesn't personally have battles with their mental health, that doesn't mean they can't be involved in helping others heal and strengthen their mental health.

Students will choose a SECRET check in buddy.  Your students will then create a digital journal and document when and how they helped their secret buddy. By secret, we mean that the buddy can't know they are writting a journal about how the student is helping them, or how the student is trying different strategies with this buddy. 

Who:  They could pick anyone who they see on a regular basis (weekely)

What: They will be documenting how they tried to help the student, what strategies they used? and how it made them feel or their buddy feel.  Try to have students stay away from names, stories about what their buddy is going through etc. as this is not the point of the exercise.

When: You decide, however, as this is a mental health issue, we can't predict them.  So we recommend having the student complete 4-6 journal entries over the course of the semester or term.

Why: This journal will allow your students to keep track of how they helped their buddy, what worked etc. 

You may add a self-reflection to this assignment, because building empathy in students to open up and start the conversation about mental health and teach them how to have real conversations and build trusting relationships is very important

MH Buddy Journal.png

Digital Journal Templates

Consolidation, depending on the grades you are teaching, could be anywhere between building relationships with friends to demonstrating how discussing mental health and physical health could benefit everyone.

The more we include mental health discussions into everyday conversations, the more we can educate people and break the stigma around mental health.


De-stigmatizing mental health in our classrooms is so important and it doesn't mean we have to talk about all the time or turn the conversation to talking about a mental health disorder a child is suffering from.  It merly means allowing our students to be free to talk about their mental health without judgement from peers, teachers, family or friends.  As teachers we have a duty to help our students understand that being healthy includes everything, physical health, mental health, emotional health and sexual health.

Talking about Stigma

        he main reasons for (not) seeking and accessing professional help given by young people are those related to mental health stigma and embarrassment, a lack of mental healthknowledge and negative perceptions of help-seeking."


                                                                                                           Radez, J. et al. (2021)


Activity - Article & Jamboard

A School-Based Intervention for Mental Illness Stigma: A Cluster Randomized Trial


Curriculum Intervention about Stigma

Exposure/Expert panel of youth living with mental health issues

Provided with printed material/achor charts about mental health

Jamboard- of course, every class is different and the classroom culture changes year to year, but your teaching and instructional design of your lessons remain.  Using these post - it notes, move them around to identity which event you would do first with your students, and create almost like a flow chart of how your would teach how to reduce stigma in yoru classroom.


There are no wrong answers, only collaborations!  As teachers we sometimes try things and fail, so it’s nice to share and see how others have succeeded and why so that we may adapt similar strategies. 

- pedagogy strategies, other things, smaller activities they would add etc.

Activity - Video .....

As we dive deep into mental health, student's emotions may be raised which gives us the perfect opportunity to speak and share about our stories and struggles.  Reminding students that there is a big difference between empathy and sympathy and as we share, and hear each other’s stories we need to be open to listening and empathetic to what each of us have gone through.  Everyone’s live journey is different but most of us have experienced similar emotions, which may be on different levels but you can be empathetic to each other by connecting through those shared experiences.

Talking about mental health, the emotional side of things, the chemistry in your brains and the attitudes towards is could help a lot of people, students, co-workers etc. Students are already going through so many physical, physcological and emotional changes as they grow up and can often feel overwhelmed but don't udnerstand what those feelings are.  Educating ourselves and arming your students, so that if and when you or someone we care about feel this way, you know and understand what’s really going on and that those feelings/thoughts could be taken care of by either talking to a friend, a therapist, or by engaging in activities that could be identified as one of your protective factors (which we will discuss in the next section).

Since every class is unique, this activity is meant to open up the conversation about menatl health, and although the worksheep provided is directly related to Kristen Bell's video, it could be adapted towards any of the following videos. 


- how could you incorporate or discuss mental health daily (Similar to assessment, what does it look like, sound like...) (compliments, positive vibes , support each, but observant, empathatic, include those that look like they need a friend/or partner in an activity ...)

- how can we make learning about mental health daily effective...  (write 3 things positive about a student)

kindness jar (look on pintrest for classroom ideas)

There are so many public figures such as; Selena Gomez, Tom Holland, Kevin Love, Clara Hughes, Demar Derozon, Naomi Osaka, Carey Price, Simone Biles.  They have come forward to speak about their mental health struggles, how they got through it and how they continue to carry on and manage their mental health without it derailing their goals in life.  It's so important that students understand that just because we discuss it now, doesn't mean you have to be vulnerable and discuss it every day.  But they should know that if and/or when negative feeling arise, the sooner they deal with it, the sooner they can carry on!

In consolidation, you may want to look at several mental health campaigns that have arise over the years such as Bell Let's Talk day and the CAMH Mental Health Week.  Encourage your students to see the Pro's and Con's to such campaigns.  Should we only talk about mental health for only 1 day or 1 week a year?  How would they change the campaign? Are there better ones out there that should be more mainstream so that students their age could resonate and seek help if they need it? Having them go through these exercises will help reduce the stigma, but it will also help them become advocates, open listeners and shoulders for people in their lives that may need them.  Just because we may not suffer from these issues ourselves, doesn't mean that one day we may not need to help someone we care about get through a difficult time.

2- Online Pedagogy

Building Protective Factors

Developing protective factors in our lives is one of the best ways to stay healthy physically and mentally.  Being involved in hobbies, social engagements and having a support systems of family and friends is not only good for our students by good for us.  As teachers we could have a difficult time keep a balanced lifestyle which is why managing our stress and identifying our own protective factors are equally important.

Risk Factors and why Protective factors are important - Pre and Post COVID

The relationship between protective factors and your mental health cannot be ignored as they have a direct relationship to one another.  As physical & health education teachers we already know the importance of this topic for our students and you probably already have activities that you use with your students to help them identify their protective factors.  THERE WILL BE A SECTION BELOW TO SHARE THESE ACTIVIES WITH ONEANOTHER....  EDIT THIS

Over the last few years, with the shut down of schools and sudden change in lifestyles because of the pandemic, several risk factors for students became more prominent such as peer victimization, isolation, cyber bullying and lack of peer socialization.  Alternately, protective factors such as building relationships with your students and helping them develop their personal resilience can go a long way for some students that are prone to living with poor mental health.  The images below discusses a few of these topics.



strong relationship decreased on peer vicitimzation in elementry school


peer socializations
social emotional learning strategies, problem solving skills, team bulding, group resolution and solving problems on their own


peer victimization
increased with virtual school and higher when technology, classrooms aren't monitoried

personal resilience
identify personal strengths, coping mechanisms and good social supports


Mind map activity????

- Read this article and create a mind map of how things connect (from the article and from your experience)  you can use these suggested categories or create some of your own...  1) Risk - peer victimization, home stress, responsibility burdens, family pressures / 2) Protective - social support, coping strategies, exercise

- could look at all things that contribute to poor mental health, substance abuse, eating disorders, violent behaviour, delienquency, gangs, drugs, crime

Roles of Resilience, Peer Relatioships on Mental Health.png

Teaching our students about how to be resilient and manage their emotions help them identify what protective factors they have in their lives and when to use them.  The video talks about finding healthy ways to deal with stressful situations and gives the example of petting your pet and talking to someone.  This is a great video geared towards elementary students.

talk about protective factors, what they are and introduce the worksheets for the students as activity,.. have teachers do the worksheet for themselves.  

Then speak about how protective factors build resilience and introduce the video.....






Moving your teaching practice online is not only about the content but how you teach it and how your students will interact with the tech tools and be engaged in the lesson.  Teaching virtually is different than face-to-face and it may feel like going back to the drawing board and revamping your entire teaching style.  Although they are different, they share a lot of common core elements.

       elf-image plays an important role in every stage of development and is particularly important during adolescence, a time when individuals extensively reorganize their self and relationships."


                                                                                                           Di Blasi, M., et al. (2015)


the relationship between self-image and social anxiety in adolescence.png

Activity: Building a positive Eye

EDIT THIS... e curated tech tools, apps, and other productivity tools you can use in your classroom for students and teachers because everyone needs to stay productive and organized in a digital world. Click on the word icon for the list of the below tech tools.


Moving your teaching practice online is not only about the content but how you teach it and how your students will interact with the tech tools and be engaged in the lesson.  Teaching virtually is different than face-to-face and it may feel like going back to the drawing board and revamping your entire teaching style.  Although they are different, they share a lot of common core elements.

This article summarizes several approaches that look specifically at improving student engagement in an online class.  Key topics include how students interact with content, collaborate with one another, and the communication that takes place within the online course. 

When you read this article consider what adjustments you have made over the last few years, whether it was teaching virtually, hybrid or face to face.  

Below is a summary of the 5 student engagement strategies from this article.  If you hover over them you will reveal some tips for implementing them in your Health and Physical Education class.   

Pic - Strengthening Student engagement online.png

Activity # - Read and Reflect

creating and

maintaining positive learning environment;


  • Open communication with students (building team environment in class)

  • Digital citizenship (constructive feedback, no put downs)

  • Communication with students and parents

  • Setting norms and expectations

  • Building a safe online environment

  • Open communication with students (building team environment in class)

  • Digital citizenship (constructive feedback, no put downs)


building learning community;

  • Community Dialog 

  • Fun, interactive activities (gamification)

  • Sharing Digital Moments (something they are proud of)

  • Giving students choices


giving consistent feedback in timely manner;

  • Q&A time outside of class for real time answers

  • Peer assessment with conversational feedback (coach to athlete scenarios)

  • Open communication with students (building team environment in class)

  • Digital citizenship (constructive feedback, no put downs)


practicing flexibility using right technology to deliver the right content;

  • Current tech to deliver content (hunt on tic tok for health video and critique them

  • Give students options when using tech

  • Open communication with students (building team environment in class)

  • Digital citizenship (constructive feedback, no put downs)


providing proper support system

  • User Friendly software for students

  • New software; provide support (teacher or peer) for troubleshooting