Considerations When Planning Mental Health Assemblies or Other Discussions With Youth
Consider the size of the student population. Would a whole school assembly, grade level assemblies, or individual classroom dialogues be the most effective way to reach your students?
Who should be included in the planning and implementation of the assemblies? Appropriate individuals include
- School counselor/ school psychologist/ school social worker
- School nurse
- Health teacher
- Community partner
Be aware of cultural considerations within your school community and be sure to tailor your information and dialogue formats appropriately.
As a result of any effort to raise awareness about mental health issues, like an assembly, your school community may see an increase in self and peer referrals for either school-based services or more intensive mental health services. It is imperative that your school have access to school-employed mental health professionals and a system to link students, staff and families to community services if necessary.
Whole school assemblies
- Assurance that all students hear the same content in the same way
- Time efficient
- Less time for interactive discussion
- Students may not speak up in a large crowd
- Teachers not able to monitor student reaction to the assembly
Grade Level/Classroom Level Assemblies
- Easier to facilitate interactive discussions
- Students may feel more comfortable sharing in small groups
- Teachers able to monitor student reactions
- Time intensive
- No assurance that all students hear the content in the same way