Faculty mental health is a topic of increased discussion on social media as well as around campuses across Ontario. Mel presented the idea of having a first aid kit for your mental health just as you would have one for physical injuries. Like a physical injury, a first aid kit for mental health is the first step towards health. We may need additional steps.

A physical kit may include:

  • A pipe cleaner to fidget with
  • A stone to help you focus on an object
  • A sucker as a treat
  • A maze to help you focus and distract yourself to get out of the fight or flight response
  • A note to yourself that remind you of something like “It’s okay to not be okay” or other notes
  • Self-care items to give you something to look forward to

The second option is a visual way to tell people what helps your mental health. Creating something to post at your desk can help people help you if they notice you are having a hard time.

Mel asks us to consider all domains of wellness. She shared a few other techniques and apps that may help including:

  • Repeating one work over and over until you feel a little silly
  • Bad news radio – making fun of the situation a little
  • Monsters on a bus – acceptance that eventually they will get off
  • Boosters buddy (see below)
  • Headspace App
  • Facing US
  • Big White Wall

Here is a copy of her slides. Faculty also shared that kits can be good for in-class. Students can fidget with things in the box during class or take one home. Play dough or pipe-cleaners are also helpful in meetings. Rubber bands on the back of chairs is a technique some have used for students with anxiety.

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Laura Killam is an experienced nursing educator from Northern Ontario with a keen interest in improving student learning through innovation. For more information please visit http://nursekillam.com/.


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