Enter to win A Practical Guide to Mental Health & Learning Disorders for Every Educator

Enter to win A Practical Guide to Mental Health & Learning Disorders for Every EducatorMay is Mental Health Awareness Month, and we’re giving away A Practical Guide to Mental Health & Learning Disorders for Every Educator by Myles L. Cooley, Ph.D., to five lucky readers! This indispensable resource provides strategies for recognizing, understanding, and helping challenged (and challenging) students succeed.

To Enter: Leave a comment below describing an idea or activity for recognizing Mental Health Awareness Month.

For additional entries, leave a separate comment below for each of the following tasks you complete:

Each comment counts as a separate entry. Entries must be received by midnight, May 24, 2019.

The winner will be contacted via email on or around May 28, 2019, and will need to respond within 72 hours to claim his or her prize or another winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way affiliated with, administered, or endorsed by Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or Instagram. Winners must be US residents, 18 years of age or older.


We welcome your comments and suggestions. Share your comments, stories, and ideas below, or contact us. All comments will be approved before posting, and are subject to our comment and privacy policies.


FSP Springybook Signature(c)© 2019 by Free Spirit Publishing. All rights reserved. The view expressed in this post represent the opinion of the author and not necessarily Free Spirit Publishing.

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164 Responses to Enter to win A Practical Guide to Mental Health & Learning Disorders for Every Educator

  1. Susan Campbell says:

    Let people know that there are resources available to help them and how to find them and also that there are people that they can talk to and how to find that person.

  2. Sharon Teitlebaum says:

    Create a school-wide poster campaign highlighting mental wellness.

  3. Ellar Caroline Capps says:

    I really need this resource as I am an educator and have many children in my school family and personal family who would greatly benefit from this information. I am a college career advisor in a high school and this information would be very helpful.

  4. Tammy Jolaoso says:

    My son is Kindergarten student diagnosed with Autism. I often encourage him to communicate his feelings through written words and or drawings. Example sentence starters that we’ve used: Sometimes I feel sad because (to which he can write or draw his response) Sometimes others feel sad when (again I guide him to write or draw his responses). This activity helps to set a framework for understanding emotions and self regulating his feelings.

  5. Calvalyn Day says:

    I like shifting the conversation from one of mental illness to mental wellness. We can all agree that we want to feel good and enjoy life so when you put it in that perspective the tasks that make us mentally well are easy to promote. I usually do a happiness challenge or no complain challenge in May to keep people on target with behaviors that support wellness

  6. Freeport Middle School says:

    Many of our students have trauma issues which impacts mental health. I explain the stress response and use Biodots (little stickers that measure the student’s skin temperature, like a mood ring). They love to see the change of color when we practice relaxation or mindfulness exercises.

  7. Maria Tuten says:

    Create a bulletin board for Mental Health Awareness Month with strategies for self-care and coping.

  8. Maria Tuten says:

    Followed on Instagram

  9. Maria Tuten says:

    Followed on Pinterest

  10. Maria Tuten says:

    Liked on Facebook

  11. Jamison Renfro says:

    We have been sharing tools for SEL and teacher wellness as well as student wellness each week this month. “No is a full sentence” was a big hit for all who feel overwhelmed and under pressure. j

  12. Yolanda Richey says:

    At drop off encourage families to share something with their child that they like about them… Then be sure to give hugs before heading off! Good for children and parents😊

  13. Kristin Bennett says:

    Follow on Pinterest

  14. Kristin Bennett says:

    Follow on Instagram

  15. Kristin Bennett says:

    Follow on Twitter

  16. Kristin Bennett says:

    Follow on Facebook

  17. Kristin Bennett says:

    I have taught Mind Up Curriculum to all K-4 classes to practice mindfulness techniques, feelings, and calming techniques.

  18. Kendra Cowles says:

    In working with children and families simple words to let them know they are cared for in the community, “Thank you for being here.” “I see and hear you.” “Your ideas, concerns and questions are important to me.”

  19. ALAN Weinblatt says:

    Support mental health month.

  20. Jennifer Agolino says:

    Following on Instagram

  21. Courtney S says:

    As a school counselor, I validate these feelings that come up often with my elementary students and educate parents around the reality of mental health!

  22. Jennifer Agolino says:

    Following on Pinterest

  23. Jennifer Agolino says:

    Following on Twitter

  24. Jennifer Agolino says:

    Liked on Facebook

  25. Jennifer Agolino says:

    We a having a Casual for a Cause day at work. Our donations will be sent to MHMR.

  26. Danielle Indri says:

    I use “Calm Down Kits” with my students and explain to them that all feelings are okay, but some reactions to these feelings may not be (things that hurt ourselves or others). The kits give them ideas of what they can do to let their feelings out and things they can do to help themselves feel better.

  27. Jennifer Garcia says:

    I have been teaching a brave breath when things start to get uncomfortable and difficult. Put your hand on your heart and hand on your belly and breathe in for 4 seconds through your nose and out through your mouth. We all need help sometimes.

  28. Deb Mertz says:

    I liked you on Facebook.

  29. Deb Mertz says:

    We are having a Junior Achievement Career Day and some of our guest speakers are in the mental health field.

    I wish all school districts in every state paid as close attention to mental health as they do to test scores and grades.

  30. Donna Fisher says:

    At our school, we put an article about how to help and encourage your child’s healthy mental health development.

  31. Lori Vu-Miller says:

    Having awareness learning sessions to explain what various mental health conditions with panels or adults whom have to learn how to manage their feelings and emotions. Possibly even having simulation activities to help other students understand and develop empathy towards others.

  32. Lisa says:

    Team building exercises are great and afford students an opportunity to interact with other students in different ways. There are many team building exercises for students of all ages that can be found on Pinterest. Choose ones that are appropriate for you and your students and meets their needs..

  33. Keturah Lane says:

    Have a discussion group with children (ages 5-6 years) about “meaning” in their lives. What creates meaningfulness? It could be as simple as playing soccer, creating art, watching a sunset at the beach, taking care of the family pet, or giving mom or dad a hug. All of these simple things create meaning in a child’s life. It is an abstract concept but so simple and important. We all need meaning.

  34. Stephanie says:

    Our school talked about having a “Spirit Week” for Mental Health Awareness month.

  35. Coula Wood says:

    Having a mental health check in chart with students to see how they’re feeling, i.e. I’m good, I’m okay, etc. Follow you on FB and Pinterest.

  36. Pamela Gilmore Tanner says:

    I work with preschoolers, we talk about feelings/emotions. Let the students know that it’s ok to have different feelings-talk about the different types of feelings and how they make us feel. Do role plays of the different feelings. We also use the I Care curriculum.

  37. Kimberly Harrison says:

    Followed on pinterest!

  38. Kimberly Harrison says:

    Followed on instagram!

  39. Kimberly Harrison says:

    Liked on Facebook!

  40. Kimberly Harrison says:

    Spreading awareness by making information sheets and available resources and posting them throughout the building.

  41. Jan says:

    Focus on positive affirmations every day!

  42. Vanessa Kwaczala says:

    I have a few ideas on how we can recognize mental health month. The first would be to start providing a newsletter to parents with resources and activities to help them. Another would be to donate books to families that provide resources as well.

    I work with low income families everyday, and feel as though this would be a great tool to bring to my job!

  43. Kathee Vaughn says:

    Mental Health is a serious condition!

  44. As a mental health specialist in a middle school every bit helps

  45. Gin Dugan says:

    In my classroom (I work with teens and young adults), we talk about what we can do to take care of ourselves as people – whether it’s physical exercise, talking with supportive friends and family, engaging in a hobby – to allow ourselves time to care for our mental well-being.

  46. Robin Echenoz says:

    I work as a paraprofessional in both the middle school and high school alternative education classroom. I greatly appreciate when the school counselors and outside sources come into our room not only for the students but to teach me things that I can look for or use with the students.

  47. Teresa Young says:

    Teach students about the importance of self-care and stress relief.

  48. Jen says:

    Encourage breath awareness to help students live through the moment (instead of having the moment live through them).

  49. Sue says:

    We usually do a kindness activity that also ties in with Teacher Appreciation Week. Random Acts of Kindness are things we regularly do each 9 weeks but have also created “warm fuzzies” for students to help with anxiousness.

  50. Tatiana Curtiss says:

    Followed on Instagram!

  51. Tatiana Curtiss says:

    Followed on Twitter!

  52. Tatiana Curtiss says:

    Liked on Facebook!

  53. Tatiana Curtiss says:

    To recognize this – I think sharing small tidbits on a bulletin board or a “thought of the day” email would be beneficial.

  54. Stephen Coutts says:

    Lego Therapy…teaches collaboration, social skills, cooperation, and conversation skills..plus Lego is always fun.

  55. William Salyer says:

    A picture wall of students favorite summertime activities and recognition of them…

  56. Dawn Griffin says:

    Mental Health inSchools and students are on the rise.

  57. Angela Talarzyk says:

    Teaching children mindfulness strategies to help them deal with strong emotions such as visualization, deep breathing, grounding techniques, progressive muscle relaxation.

  58. Marti Anderson says:

    A book study among staff members at school often raises awareness of issues affecting students and provides help in assisting our students.

  59. Laura Meyer says:

    It is so important to actually give students room to talk and ask them questions that leave the opportunity to talk. I always let them know that I’m a mandatory reporter, but that if they aren’t in danger and the situation has been reported, I will listen to them. I do follow up to make sure that this is the case, but I remind students that they are unique and their feelings are valued even when others might not give them the opportunity to be heard. Sometimes that is all that they need.

  60. Veronica Lee says:

    May is Mental Health Awareness month and I have shared information and goodies with my staff and students!!

    • Ami says:

      Our school collaborates with our local cos . We discuss topics such as mental health so we are more prepared teachers for all students

  61. Jl Johnson says:

    I follow you on Pinterest

  62. Jl Johnson says:

    I follow you on Facebook and commented earlier with my suggestion.

  63. Jl Johnson says:

    Create a list of phrases or words that drag us down. Things that have been told to kids or beliefs that they have about themselves. A sort of ceremonial ripping apart done with destroying of the paper. Then the kids would write all of these positive affirmations about themselves.

  64. Jessica Williams says:

    For secondary students I want to hold an open “gratitude ” group. Students can drop in as they are available before/after school, during lunch, during flex time/advisory to complete a portion of their daily-ish gratitude journal. They will build a habit of expressing gratitude, identifying positive things in the midst of their turbulent lives, and see that they are not alone and that this is a safe self care activity to practice.

  65. Stacy Pekarik says:

    Have kids learn about emotions, how to recognize their emotions and by teachers and parents validating their emotions.

  66. Sonja Pejovska says:

    Morning group with child and parents at drop off. 15min of moving around and face expression , teaching awesome ways of non verbal, how our mental health issues are on us . Interesting how kids find how there parent are feeling .
    I ask questions to the group. 😊😊😊☯️

  67. Sally Wiley says:

    As parent/family educator for 17 years for families with children birth to five years, I have done many lessons on post-partum issues, anxiety in parents and children, and how nature can be healing for people with mental health issues. One of my favorite introductions with parents was having them write on a dry erase board a human body shape and put words/pictures around how anxiety feels in a person’s body. They filled with a time bomb for a stomach, an earthquake in the brain for headache, a worry monster on the shoulder, etc. It was a wonderful talking point for giving them more information. For the young children, I take them for walks in natural nature settings and they become different, calm, focused children rather than in a classroom filled with too many toys. We relate to the animals, bugs and plants we find in nature.

  68. Maureen Long says:

    In one local school, the student council members posted encouraging notes for the students who may be struggling throughout their school to recognize Mental Health a awareness month.

  69. Do a discussion starter and use mental health disorders to see what others know on the disorder.

  70. Iris Stevens says:

    For recognizing Mental Health Week, I pass out large sheets of bubble wrap to each class. Then I do a recorded lesson about “Ready to Pop” and how we hold on to feelings and emotions until we pop. We have to learn healthy ways to release those feelings before they get to be overwhelming.

  71. Autumn Shaffer says:

    Follow on Twitter

  72. Autumn Shaffer says:

    Follow on Facebook

  73. Autumn Shaffer says:

    Follow on Pintrest

  74. Autumn Shaffer says:

    I work in early education so we focus part of our morning circle each day on mindfulness, regulation breathing, yoga, etc. We also do alot of teaching on emotions and empathy.

  75. (As silly as it sounds, it was a great activity ..)
    I’ve taught for 23 years . 15 of those years have been as a 4th grade teacher..and if 28 students (17/28 boys!) like it, I’m using it;)!
    We did an activity called ‘Kitten Videos and Cotton Balls’; I prefaced our morning with asking my ‘kids’ about their favorite YouTube Videos ( yep, could be hazardous/ humorous). Could they identify the number one most watched sort/ genre of video? Some could!
    We watched a 4- minute prescreened video called,’Funny Kittens’ ; I asked the kids to notice how we/ they reacted. Lots of ‘awww’ and smiles – and I teach in a LOW SES, tough district. I asked as to why they thought they had reacted that way. ‘It just makes you feel good,’ and ‘They’re just cute!’ were added to the ‘They’re fuzzy and good for hugging!’
    That’s the cue to put a HUGE pile of cotton balls in the middle of our ‘team circle’. They could take as many cotton balls 1-10 based on the ‘feel good’ rating of the video.
    In turn, they had to give a ‘fuzzy, feel good’ compliment to each student to match the amount of Cotton balls!
    It was awesome!!!!
    This works with our classroom ‘team building’.
    Jenn Fairweather, Teacher
    Oakridge Upper Elementary

  76. M says:

    Being a coordinator/teacher for gifted students I was so impressed by all the studies by our European colleagues on the topic of misdiagnosing gifted students with several mental disorders, including AD(H)D and Bipolar… Thanks for all you do! Ms B

  77. Amy Mead says:

    Our school starts each day with a whole school mindfulness activity where we take brave breathes and then each day we have a different choose love thought for the day. This way we always start the day with mindfulness

  78. fallsha says:

    Instagram! Check, Check, Check, Check!

  79. fallsha says:

    Twitter! Triple Check

  80. fallsha says:

    Pinterest! Double Check!!

  81. fallsha says:

    facebook! Check!

  82. fallsha says:

    Encourage all parents to fill out an ASQ-SE and use the information to support families!

  83. Megan Sweeney says:

    I work with young children, so using “Feely Faces” made out of felt and either putting them on Popsicle sticks or for use in a felt story and singing a song about feelings helps the children know that it is okay to feel different ways.

  84. On the daycare level, our teachers have attended several workshops on using mindfulness, deep breathing, exercise, and light meditation to help themselves as well as their students when experiencing stress or difficult emotional feelings.

  85. Janine says:

    We can have students (or participants) create up-lifting/positivity cards for a school/community positivity jar. Alternatively we can have a positivity jar with paper stars /fortune stars (origami) with positive words/phrases that they can pick up and open as if they were fortune cookies.

  86. Dionne Smith says:

    We use the DECA kits and in our kits, we have a variety of items that we use to work with the children. The one thing that gets the best response is the feeling faces. The children love that.

  87. Jessica says:

    Educating teachers and daycare providers on mental health awareness and teaching strategies. Also, providing opportunities for networking and partnerships between parents and teachers and mental health professionals

  88. Courtney Wade says:

    A round table discussion where volunteers share how mental health impacts their or someone they know life. The teacher would start the share and groundwork behaviors stated before beginning.

  89. Elana Shinkle says:

    I would have students role-play what to do in a variety of MH situations.

  90. Kimyatta Harris says:

    Have age appropriate discussions with children about Mental Health. Discussions could take place in assemblies through role play for older children and simple games and stories for younger children. The goal is to spread awareness but in ways that are conducive for the children being served. Provide opportunities for children to connect with others.

  91. Linda Matuga says:

    I have been supporting my students in my Food & Nutrition classes by looking at how food choices impact our mood. In addition, we are discussing ideas on how to combat loneliness in our school and adding “food” to those potential solutions.

  92. Genny Cook says:

    Liked on facebook

  93. Genny says:

    Shared with staff some current statistics on mental health: 1 in 5 adults in the US experience mental illness.

  94. Kate E says:

    Following on Pinterest

  95. Liz says:

    Designate a day in school for students to dress in “comfy clothes” to encourage comfortable thougths and feelings for Mental Health Month!

  96. Kate E says:

    Following on Twitter

  97. Kate E says:

    Liked on Facebook

  98. Kait M. says:

    have a bulletin board where kids can leave post-its with positive messages and encouragement

  99. Kate E. says:

    In addition to activities happening in our classrooms, we incorporate this theme into our Professional Development by having local health organizations come it to present to staff on topics related to mental health. This opens up a partnership and makes staff feel more comfortable in reaching out to these resources.

  100. Kasey Fuller says:

    We are doing mindfulness activities daily.

  101. Mary Wilson says:

    First, acknowledge the feeling and then share that it is okay to not be okay at times and help to think of strategies in the moment that work as a substitute.

  102. Gina says:

    Talk cards

  103. Ann Dill says:

    I have the kids give “verbal gifts” which are compliments or something they like about a peer’s character.

  104. Julie McGowan says:

    All educators can use helpful ideas concerning this area.

  105. Pamela Baker says:

    Group picture posted on Facebook Page (everyone needs to wear green)

  106. jane bartosz says:

    Luckily we have a wonderful counselor at our school. In my class, we talk a lot about kindness and respect for all.

  107. Mamie Eng says:

    Liked on Facebook & shared on timeline.

  108. Kim Polstein says:

    I have my staff members (early childhood education trainers and mental health consultants) work on self-care and mindfulness activities throughout the month and we collaborate on how the activities we do for ourselves can be made available to teachers and children in the classrooms.

  109. @seeanngo33 says:

    Followed on twitter

  110. Susan Werner says:

    We are using announcements including a mindfulness activity.

  111. Kristina Davison says:

    I have my high school students download a specific mindfulness app on their phones and then as a class, we utilize throughout the school year.

  112. @seeanngo33 says:

    The Calm app is free for all educators!
    https://www.calm.com/schools

  113. Claudette Vanravenstein says:

    Using buddha boards in a quiet corner in classrooms.

  114. Yanndi de Carranza says:

    Mental health awareness needs to be spread.

  115. Dana Dixon says:

    Read books on social emotional and have group discussions. Use open ended questions. Model acceptable behaviors with children. Play board games that teach/promote waiting and taking turns.

  116. Michael Bank says:

    Mindfulness training for parents

  117. susan joseph says:

    It has been mentioned but Youth Mental Health First Aid is an amazing training to help provide support to all of our students.

  118. Jill Curry says:

    I have done mindfulness activities from the Breathe Like a Bear dvd. It is a great resource.

  119. Debbie Kiraly says:

    Teach students to recognize and respond to the warning signs of suicide and to tell an adult.
    Give the national suicide hotline number :1-800-273-8255 (1-800-273-TALK)

  120. Paula R says:

    Developing a hashtag!

  121. Jan Boudreau says:

    Liked on Facebook

  122. donna greer says:

    LIked you on facebook

  123. Jan Boudreau says:

    Following on Pinterest

  124. Laurie Gliem says:

    Share basic mindfulness practices with students beginning in Kindergarten. Breathing exercises are simple, and then you can teach them simply about how their brain works so they learn how to manage their emotions.

  125. Bradley Evans says:

    As a mental health provider this book would be an excellent addition to my library

  126. Jan Boudreau says:

    I did a whole professional development session yesterday to implement lessons and materials at our school for next year and some tips and tricks for anxiety to use right away in the classroom!

  127. Teresa Davis says:

    Classroom discussion on what mental health means

  128. melissa olearchick says:

    Our school really gets into feelings identification through video clips and power-points on Inside Out during our Mental Health Awareness Day. Speakers (business representatives) from the community come in to present and do activities with classrooms on this day on the topic of mental health awareness.

  129. Jeremy Smith says:

    Encourage students to look at new ways they can overcome persistent challenges. Remind them that success is a result of their continual efforts to find solutions that bring desired results.

  130. Mary Dawn Eggleton says:

    Liked on Facebook

  131. Renee Nielsen says:

    Following on Pinterest

  132. Mary Dawn Eggleton says:

    Balance butterflies mindfulness activity

  133. Carol Halvorson says:

    Reinforce the practice to my PreK’s of taking relaxing breaths when feeling anxious by trying to move the space shuttle floating above our carpet.

  134. Nicole Marcial says:

    Mental Health First Aid should be included as core curriculum for all school and child care personnel. It should be funded as well so that the incentive is greater.

  135. Renee Nielsen says:

    Following on Instagram

  136. Thera Rocco says:

    Followed you on instagram

  137. I give away free decorated journals and diaries to fill to any middle schooler who comes to my school library for a book at the urging of our social worker, psychologist, counselor, or therapist.

  138. Renee Nielsen says:

    liked on Facebook

  139. Annette Maestas says:

    Provide Mental Health Disorders/Disabilities information as a training to our Head Start and Early Head Start staff.

  140. Thera Rocco says:

    I liked your page on Facebook.

  141. Renee Nielsen says:

    Wearing a special color or shirt!

  142. Kim Swaffield says:

    Learn about Brief Solution Focused Therapy strategies that teachers can use with children. Listen to what the children need to be more comfortable and successful in the classroom.

  143. Cathy Van Donselaar says:

    Provide mental health in service opportunities

  144. Thera says:

    Have a discussion with preschoolers about emotions:-)

  145. W. Routier says:

    Use this book.

  146. Plumas Charter School says:

    I like having students write and share affirmations before difficult tasks

  147. Melissa says:

    Followed on instagram

  148. Melissa says:

    Followed on Pinterest

  149. Melissa says:

    Liked on facebook

  150. Jessica Navarro says:

    Showcase successful people who have lived with and overcame mental illness.

  151. Melissa says:

    Fliers about mental health and how to get help/help a friend.

  152. School counselors need to share with every teacher!

  153. Dorothy says:

    Share characteristics of various disorders along with examples of What successful people with those disorders do /have done to persevere and succeed. “Just Like Me”

  154. Susan Eriksen says:

    As a school nurse I teach mental health awareness to students in the Red Flags course.

  155. Deana Hirte says:

    Include mental health/learning disorder awareness articles, facts, quotes in newsletters

  156. Deana Hirte says:

    Following on Pinterest

  157. Deana Hirte says:

    Followed on Twitter

  158. Deana Hirte says:

    liked on Facebook

  159. Nini Engel says:

    School psychologists need all the mental health assistance we can get!

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