Lesson 2: Intro to Mental Health


Pre-class Preparation

  1. For Activity 1, bring the “Themes in Warrior Within” chart paper from last lesson and tape it up onto the wall.
  2. For Activity 3, print out Stations Worksheet (one per student), and the Stations Written Resources below. Place written resources into eight separate bins. 

Activity 1: Lesson 1 Re-cap

1. Once students are settled into their seats, ask them to turn to a partner and recap what happened last lesson. Encourage them to get up out of their seats and inspect the sticky notes on the chart paper. Allow at least three minutes for this activity.

2. If this second lesson is occurring more than three days after the previous lesson, consider showing the Warrior Within trailer (below) to refresh students' memory. Instruct students to sit down after their discussion, and screen the trailer as further recap.


Activity 2: Frogs in the Pond

Frogs in the Pond is a mindfulness game. Beyond entertainment, these types of activities allow students to focus only on the activity at hand, causing them to forget about external stressors for a short period of time and relieving emotional and psychological tension. As this game is conducted in groups, it may also aid in building the class community. Do not reveal to students that this is a mindfulness exercise; this will be a surprise for the end of the curriculum that will help dispel myths and stereotypes about the practice of mindfulness. 

  1. Ask students to place themselves into groups of five to seven.
  2. Go up to one group and ask them to participate in a demonstration.
  3. Going around clockwise, ask each student to say consecutive words from the statement, “One frog jumped in the pond. Plop!”
  4. Explain that once that sentence is complete, the number of frogs has increased by one. Thus, the students continue in clockwise order by saying consecutive words from the statement, “Two frogs jumped in the pond. Plop! Plop!”
  5. If one person pauses for more than 5 seconds, or says the wrong word, the whole group has to start over from “one frog”.
  6. Make it a competition! Offer candy or other prizes for the group that manages to get to the highest number of frogs. 

Slideshow: Mental Health 101

1. Open the speaker notes by clicking the gear icon and follow along.


Activity 3: Mental Health 101 Stations

1. As described in the Pre-Class Preparation, written resources from Activity 3: Stations should have been placed into eight separate bins, one for each station. After the slideshow, place each bin on a table to create rotating stations. A sufficient number of copies of the Stations Worksheet should have been printed to hand out to students.

2. Explain that the following activity will give students a broad knowledge of various mental disorders, including their symptoms, risks, and treatment. Emphasize that mental disorders manifest differently in each unique individual, and that the stations are only meant to be a general summary. Also note that not all types of disorders have been covered by the eight stations, such as personality disorders, or otherwise acknowledge that not all stations have been presented due to time constraints. Encourage interested students to perform more research on their own at home, particularly into the Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th edition (DSM-V).

3. Next, ask students if they know the definition of the medical term comorbidity: when two or more illnesses or disorders occur in the same person. Explain that many mental disorders are comorbid, and although not all details are included on the station fact sheets, it is very much possible that a person can be diagnosed with more than one mental disorder.

4. Hand out the Stations Worksheet. Describe that the stations can be explored in no particular order, and students will have 5-10 minutes at each station (based on the number of stations presented and class time available) to read the material and answer any applicable questions on their worksheets.

5. Allow students to choose their first station that most strongly resonates with them. The exact number of students at a station is not significant, but if it appears that a crowd is forming then it may be difficult for every student to read the material in the given time interval.

6. Time for 5-10 minutes, then ask students to switch stations. Again, they may choose based on the representative art piece of the station.

7. Continue this activity until the class is over. If students feel unsatisfied with the amount of time they had with a station, or did not get to explore a station they were interested in, consider giving them the station fact sheets so that they can read the material at home.