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30 Days of Mental Health
Throughout the Academic Year

  • Day 1: What is mental health and wellness?
    Mental health includes the cognitive, emotional, and behavioral skills that enable us to live a full and productive life, as well as the flexibility to deal with life’s ups and downs. Mental health doesn't just happen; there are many things in our environment and active steps that we can take to increase the likelihood that we will have positive mental health.
  • Day 2: What is mental illness?
    Mental illnesses are diagnosable health conditions involving changes in thinking, emotion, and/or behavior. Psychological challenges become mental illnesses when they begin to interfere with our ability to engage in social interactions, work or schoolwork, and/or caring for ourselves.
  • Day 3: Who has mental health and illness?
    Everyone has mental health! And anyone can experience mental illness. It is important to normalize discussing mental health and mental illness as just another aspect of being human.
  • Day 4: Yes, the pandemic is impacting mental health"
    Helping children and youth understand that negative mental health effects of the pandemic are to be expected, and that they are not alone in experiencing sadness, anxiety, anger, depression, and an increased desire to cope using substances can help normalize the need to ask for help.
  • Day 5: Am I angry, sad, hurt, frustrated, or ...?"
    It’s been many months of ongoing loss and change. Children and youth may be grappling with feelings they don’t understand and are unable to name. One of the best ways to help them is by exploring emotional vocabulary and learning to name feelings.
  • Day 6: Stress: What is it?
    Stress is how our brains and bodies respond to a challenge or demand. Sometimes stress can be positive, while other times prolonged stress can be harmful. It is important to pay attention to how we deal with minor and major stressors.
  • Day 7: Stress: Where does it come from?
    Children and youth need help identifying the sources of stress in their lives, from daily hassles to societal stressors. Exploring the root causes of stress can help children and youth gain agency over the stressors in their lives.
  • Day 8: GET HELP: How to share your stress with an adult
    Everyone experiences stress, and sometimes we can’t control the stressors in our lives, but we can manage how we respond. Developing a trusting relationship with supportive adults and using help-seeking strategies can help minimize the impact of stressors on children and youth.
  • Day 9: You got this: Self-advocating for stress reduction
    Parents and other adults often don’t know how much stress children and youth may be experiencing. Therefore, it is important for children to learn how to express their needs and advocate for changes that would lead to stress management and reduction.
  • Day 10: Making peace with the stressors of the pandemic
    The COVID-19 pandemic has created a substantial amount of anxiety and stress for communities all over the world. Children and youth have lost the routines that organized their days; they have lost loved ones, lost economic stability, and so much is still unknown. Learning how to make peace with the ongoing stressors of the pandemic can support wellbeing.
  • Day 11: Adverse life experiences and feelings of shame and self-blame
    Difficult life experiences and events that happen in our childhood can sometimes have a lasting effect, causing many confusing feelings and unhealed emotional wounds. Understanding and acknowledging how adverse life experiences affect us increases our capacity to cope.
  • Day 12: To share or overshare?
    There is a time and place to share your life experiences and thoughts. Knowing when and how much to share is an important part of maintaining healthy relationships with others, and it is part of protecting our wellbeing.
  • Day 13: Shining light on shame
    Shame is an emotion that everyone experiences, but what does shame mean in the context of mental health? Defining and shedding light on ‘shame’ can help in reducing stigma. This can help children and youth to be more compassionate with themselves and with others who are coping with and healing from mental health challenges.
  • Day 14: #NoBadVibes: How social media can cause harm
    Social media is something that lots of people use to connect with others and get information. While it connects us, it can also be a place of harm. From the constant feed of negative content, to envy of what others are posting, or the value placed on getting likes and followers, social media can have a negative impact on mental health and wellness.
  • Day 15: #PositiveVibesOnly: How to use social media to support positive mental health
    Social media is something that everyone uses; however, we often only hear about the problems of inappropriate or too much use. It is important to understand the benefits of social media for one’s mental health and ways to interact with social media in a healthy way.
  • Day 16: It’s ok to talk about suicide and self harm
    It is important to understand the differences between attempted suicide, thinking about suicide, and self-harm. Educating youth about all three is critical to intervening and reducing the likelihood that they may occur.
  • Day 17: Knowing the warning signs to look for in yourself and others
    Understanding the signs and symptoms of mental health deterioration helps with recognizing when one should access services or lean on trusted others for support. By exploring and discussing common warning signs that present right before a mental health crisis, children and youth will be more aware and prepared to support themselves and others.
  • Day 18: The more you know: Resources you can use
    Learning about the various types of mental health resources in one’s local and virtual community is an important part of reducing stigma and increasing access to services. This is a great collaborative exercise to do with a whole class to learn about and identify the range of mental health resources that are available in the community, by phone, and online.
  • Day 19: Offering help to a friend
    We all want to help others when they are hurting and in distress, and it can be beneficial to the helper and helpee. However, we often don’t know what to say and how to help them in times of crisis. This is a skill that can be learned to enable children and youth to offer their friends support during emotionally challenging times.
  • Day 20: Knowing when your friend needs more help than you can give
    It is important for children and youth to know the limits of the support that they can provide to peers and to know that it is OK to share sensitive information with adults when they think that someone needs more help than they can give. Reaching out for help can be done in ways that don’t feel like betrayal.
  • Day 21: Mind matters: How thoughts affect feelings and drive behaviors
    We have all experienced days when our thoughts about a particular situation really put us in a bad mood for a moment or even the whole day. We are better able to manage these times by understanding how thoughts, feelings, and behaviors work together to influence each other and how by changing one, a positive impact can be had on the others.
  • Day 22: We all do it, but what is self-talk?"
    Self-talk is the inner dialogue that we have with ourselves all day long. It can happen while working on a task or even while having a conversation. Self talk is tied to our sense of self and can be helpful, harmful, or neutral.
  • Day 23: Challenging our inner voice: Negative self-talk
    Negative self-talk can result from intrusive thoughts that often occur without much effort. It is important to understand where negative self-talk comes from and why combating negative self-talk is key to creating overall mental wellness.
  • Day 24: Increasing positive self-talk
    When self-talk is positive, it helps us feel good about ourselves because it allows us to change our perspective toward different situations and give ourselves more compassion and grace when things are not going well. Learning ways to increase positive self-talk is a step toward improving overall well-being.
  • Day 25: Learning to be present through use of mindfulness practices
    Worrying about life’s daily stressors can affect our behaviors, feelings and thoughts which in turn can cause our minds to feel like a car on a race track—worrying about past or future events. Mindfulness is a calming practice that encourages focus on the present moment.
  • Day 26: Everyone experiences anxiety, but how do we know when it’s more serious?"
    Experiencing some amount of anxiety on a regular basis is normal because it allows us to stay alert, respond to stressful events, and operate at max performance when needed. However, some people experience anxiety that does the opposite and interferes with their ability to take action. It is important to recognize the difference between being anxious and clinical levels of anxiety.
  • Day 27: Coping with anxiety
    Learning to cope with low or high levels of anxiety is key to feeling better. Teaching students a few coping strategies to reduce and manage anxious feelings can help them cope with life’s many stressors.
  • Day 28: Everyone experiences depression, but how do we know when it’s more serious?"
    Feeling ‘sad’ or ‘blue’ in response to stressors (e.g. loss of a loved one) or life changes (e.g. moving to a new city) is a common human experience. But does feeling depressed make someone depressed? It is important to recognize the difference between being sad and clinical levels of depression.
  • Day 29: Coping with depression
    Finding ways to zap or reduce depressive symptoms can be challenging. There are skills and activities that can be learned and used to help boost one’s mood in the moment and then maintain a positive mood over time.
  • Day 30: Invite students to keep the campaign going
    Empowering children to talk about mental health is an excellent way to increase awareness and reduce stigma. Exploring current mental health awareness initiatives and ways to create school- and community-wide campaigns is a good way to continue these conversations.
  • Beyond the 30 days
    After the 30 days participants will be invited to continue receiving a weekly mental health resource email sent out on Sundays.
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