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.