- Bring awareness to students that there is a stigma behind discussing mental wellness
- Recognize the power of positive vs negative words when discussing mental health
- To be able to identify positive ways to describe mental health
Distribute multiple sticky note pads out to students. Have students write out all the negative words or phrases they have heard to describe mental illness. (i.e. crazy, lazy, stupid, can’t sit still, just need to get over their bad mood) for approximately 2 minutes. Then, use the bulletin board paper and trace a life size outline of another student. Post the poster on the wall or a table and ask students to come up and place all their post-it’s on the image (even if they are repeat words).
Once everyone has posted their words, review the processing questions.
- How do you think someone may feel hearing these types of comments daily?
- We don’t always know who is struggling with something. How do you think someone may feel if their friends and family are using these words and phrases to talk about mental health? Do you think they would be less inclined to share their struggles?
- How do you feel looking at this person filled with negative comments and words?
- What do you think we could be doing to help change the conversation about mental health?
Have students come up one-by-one or in groups of two to respond to one of the negative words written on the post-it notes. Instruct the students to cross off the negative word and replace it with a positive word associated with mental illness or write an encouraging message to someone struggling with a mental illness.