A teacher in the San Francisco Bay Area has gone viral after she shared an ingenious idea on how to help students with their mental health. After having several students struggling in the past five years, English special education teacher Erin Castillo decided it was time to do something – and so, introduced the mental health check in board in her classroom.
Students can pick up a post-it, write their name on the back and place it wherever they like on the sheet with six categories from ‘great’ to ‘in a really dark place’. They can also specify that they ‘wouldn’t mind a check in’ if they need it, without having to utter the words, but simply placing their post-it on that part of the sheet.
Erin wanted students to see they’re not alone in feeling low, she told Insider in an interview. ‘So many people think they’re the only ones struggling,’ she said. ‘Kids need to hear that they’re not alone and what that support looks like.’
After seeing how well it worked with her own students, Erin decided to share the concept with the wider teacher community and uploaded a free digital copy on a platform known as Teachers Pay Teachers. The check in sheet quickly went viral after that with one teacher, Jessie Cayton, sharing it on her Instagram page after she created one for her own class.
Soon after, a Facebook page called Suicide Awareness / Prevention, which has over 600,000 followers, posted about it on their wall. It has been shared 169,000 times and over 16,000 people have commented on it so far, with more teachers saying they’ve now adapted the technique. One also suggested it might be useful to have this same type of board in a teacher staff room – giving them a chance to unload too. People also showcased their own boards on Instagram. Erin felt very emotional after seeing her board go viral. ‘I just started crying,’ she said. ‘My husband asked me why I was crying, and I said “because kids are being saved everywhere”.’
What a wonderful idea? 🥰