Special education teacher Erin Castillo has gone above and beyond for her students by creating a mental health check-in chart so they can reach out in a subtle way and get any help they may need.
Slowly but surely the stigma of mental health and keeping all of your feelings to yourself is being broken down by people brave enough to offer help and normalize their feelings of depression and anxiety. Erin has been teaching for five years in the San Francisco Bay area and in that time several students have attempted suicide.
She created this daily exercise so her students, some of whom are autistic or non-verbal or have learning disabilities can gauge how they're feeling. Her chart has different mood levels to express Students write their names on the back of a post-it and put it where they are feeling for anonymity from other students.
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The check-in chart has six different levels made in descending order with an "I'm Great" on top "I'm Meh" and "I'm Struggling" in the middle. The two lowest levels are for those feeling especially low and "I'm Having a Hard Time" and I'm in a Dark Place" asking for a check-in.
She then checks-in with every student during the week to see how they're really doing offering support and guidance.
Bored Panda shared this story about a teacher who truly goes out of the way for the well-being of her students. Erin's chart has caught on and inspired other teachers to do the same for their students. The more we talk about our mental health, depression, and anxiety the easier it will be for people to express and understand their feelings.
Here's a chart another teacher made for her students.
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Took a page out of @makingastatementinsped book and recreated her Mental Heath Check in poster 💭 . . It is SO important to have students become aware of their own mental health, and for teachers to create a classroom community where students feel safe to express their own feelings and realize they are not alone. Looking forward to conducting more check ins in the future! Also, Erin has a free download that includes set of instructions/posters to use in your own classroom, too- go snag those ASAP! ♥️ . . . #teacherspayteachers #mentalhealth #mentalhealthcheck #checkin #tpt #anchorchart
Erin has been surprised by the success of her chart but is, of course, glad it's being recognized. She has said in a previous interview her reasons for adding this chart to her classroom. She said, "So many people think they’re the only ones struggling.”
A symptom of depression is loneliness and feeling anti-social. It can be a hard symptom to overcome. Castillo also added, “Kids need to hear that they’re not alone and what that support looks like.”
Could you have used Ms. Castillo's check-in chart in school? Do you think more students should add one to their classroom? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!