You might have watched Netflix's new series Thirteen Reasons Why, which has been raising quite the stir among parents and educators. The series, based on the 2007 young adult novel by Jay Asher, is about a high school student named Hannah Baker, who commits suicide and leaves behind thirteen cassette tapes. For its graphic depiction of suicide, the show has received a fair amount of criticism. The National Association of School Psychologists, for instance, stated, "We do not recommend that vulnerable youth, especially those who have any degree of suicidal ideation, watch this series." Even the New York Department of Education has opined on the matter, releasing a letter to parents emphasizing the importance of talking with one's children about the show and its possible "trigger" effects.

As teachers, we're wondering: Have you watched the show? Are your students watching it? Do you see the show as a kind of "public pedagogy" about teens and mental health? This week, we're offering our curated collection of resources on mental health--from a curriculum guide for high school students to a funny and apt podcast about all things depression-related.

We're interested in knowing more about how issues of mental health are impacting you and your students. Please email us at teaching.residents@tc.edu and tell us what kinds of supports and programming you'd like to see in the future around these issues.

 

Professional Development

At-Risk for Elementary School Educators, At-Risk for Middle School Educators, and At-Risk for High School Educators

Online PD

Looking for more information on how to support students who may be at risk for self-harm? As part of the Thrive NYC initiative, At-Risk for Elementary School Educators, At-Risk for Middle School Educators and At-Risk for High School Educators are research-proven gatekeeper training simulations designed to prepare teachers, administrators and staff to: (1) recognize when a student is exhibiting signs of psychological distress, and (2) manage a conversation with the student with the goal of connecting them with the appropriate support. In these 1-hour online trainings, users enter a virtual environment, assume the role of an educator, and engage in conversations with three emotionally responsive student avatars that exhibit signs of psychological distress, including thoughts of suicide. The company's science-driven and research-proven approach have made Kognito the only company with health simulations listed in the National Registry of Evidence-Based Programs and Practices (NREPP) and are listed in SPRC/AFSP Best Practices Registry.

 

Classroom Resource

School-aged youth are a vulnerable population. They are in a period of their lives that is crucial for their mental health development. Schools are often challenged to deal with youth mental health, but are seriously under equipped and inadequately supported to handle this responsibility. The Mental Health & High School Curriculum Guide provides a complete set of educational tools to increase understanding of mental health and mental disorders among both students and teachers. The guide, developed in partnership with the Washington Superintendent of Public Instruction and Project Aware, focuses on training teachers to be comfortable with their own knowledge of mental health and mental disorders. The guide then empowers the teachers to share this knowledge with their students through a curriculum delivered in a multiple module format. The program uses a variety of interactive sessions that help to promote dialogue among students, as well as with their teachers. Discussing mental health and mental illness in a supportive, familiar environment enables youth to feel safe, ask questions, gain knowledge, combat stigma and develop their own opinions of the world around them.

 

Raising Consciousness

NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness. What started as a small group of families gathered around a kitchen table in 1979 has blossomed into the nation's leading voice on mental health. Today, NAMI is an association of hundreds of local affiliates, state organizations and volunteers who work in your community to raise awareness and provide support and education that was not previously available to those in need. Offered in thousands of communities across the United States through NAMI State Organizations and NAMI Affiliates, their education programs ensure hundreds of thousands of families, individuals and educators get the support and information they need.

 

Good Listens

A show about clinical depression...with laughs? Well, yeah. Depression is an incredibly common and isolating disease experienced by millions, yet often stigmatized by society. The Hilarious World of Depression is a series of frank, moving, and, yes, funny conversations with top comedians who have dealt with this disease, hosted by veteran humorist and public radio host John Moe. Join guests such as Maria Bamford, Paul F. Tompkins, Andy Richter, and Jen Kirkman to learn how they’ve dealt with depression and managed to laugh along the way. If you have not met the disease personally, it’s almost certain that someone you know has, whether it’s a friend, family member, colleague, or neighbor. Depression is a vicious cycle of solitude and stigma that leaves people miserable and sometimes dead. Frankly, we’re not going to put up with that anymore. The Hilarious World of Depression is not medical treatment and should not be seen as a substitute for therapy or medication. But it is a chance to gain some insight, have a few laughs, and realize that people with depression are not alone and that together, we can all feel a bit better.