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4 Ways to Incorporate Role Models in the Classroom to Explore Mental Health

At Future Action, we are on a mission to guide hero teachers like you to transform children’s life chances. Central to this mission is introducing early intervention mental wellbeing strategies to young people through our RISE Up Roadmap.

Credit - Sky Sports

In this blog, we focus on the power of role models to help eradicate the stigma surrounding mental illness.

Step 1: Intro to RISE Up

Our RISE Up Roadmap begins with the fundamental notion that it's okay not to be okay. We embark on the journey of early intervention mental wellbeing strategies, creating a safe space where seeking help is an act of courage and strength.

The Power of Role Models

In our pursuit to destigmatise mental health discussions, we turn to the influence of role models. We showcase individuals who not only excel in their respective fields but also openly prioritise their mental wellbeing. These role models become beacons of inspiration, guiding young minds towards a healthier approach to their own mental health.

Mary Earps, Owen Farrell and Harry Brook leading the way

In the past months, notable figures like England Goalkeeper Mary Earps, Owen Farrell, England Rugby Captain, and England Cricketer, Harry Brook, have taken commendable steps to either discuss or prioritise their own mental wellbeing.

Mary Earps used her platform as BBC Sports Personality of the Year to talk about how she nearly retired but overcame those low points to become the world's number 1 goalkeeper.

Credit - PA Images

Owen Farrell has stepped away from the International game to focus on his and his family's mental health, while Brook chose a hiatus from social media for the same reason.

These actions resonate beyond the realm of sports, delivering a potent message to young people that mental health is an integral part of our overall wellbeing.

Credit - PA Images

Normalising Conversations

Role models, especially those rooted in children's passions, serve as catalysts in normalising conversations about mental health. The aim is to make discussions around emotional struggles as commonplace as those about physical wellbeing. This normalisation is pivotal in creating an environment where seeking support is not just accepted but encouraged.

4 Ways to Incorporate Role Models in the Classroom:

[1] Open Discussions: Initiate open conversations about mental health, using role models as real-world examples. Encourage students to express how they feel about their idols prioritising mental wellbeing.

[2] Research Projects: Task students with delving into the lives of their favourite role models. Explore how these figures manage stress, setbacks, and their advocacy for mental health.

[3] Creative Projects: Integrate creative assignments where students can express their understanding of mental health, inspired by the experiences of their role models.

[4] Guest Speakers: If possible, invite guest speakers, such as mental health advocates or professionals, to share insights and experiences, reinforcing the importance of mental wellbeing.

Let's create an educational environment where mental health discussions are as natural as discussing any other facet of wellbeing.

Together, we empower our students to thrive holistically, preparing them for success not only in the classroom but in the broader spectrum of life.

Do please share with us how you have used role models to break the stigma. We would love to share your ideas with our community.

Do you want to take the first step to healthier, happier young people?

We appreciate that these are not always easy conversations for you to have with your young people.

If you want to build your confidence so that you feel you have the capability to support your young people, then take the first step by completing our 'School Wellbeing Scorecard here.

This action will help you map your school's wellbeing provision in 3 minutes and identify the key areas to focus on for your setting.

You will receive a personalised report and a complimentary login to our taster ‘RISE Up’ course.  Here you will be able to experience Step 1 and 2 of our 9 Step RISE Up hybrid teacher training course. 

Information about our RISE UP early intervention mental wellbeing teacher training course can be found here.

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