To paraphrase Sacha Baron Cohen’s quasi-journalistic persona Ali G — Mental health, it’s well important, innit?
Important indeed. Here, I wanted to put a link to some studies tidily quantifying the rise of depression in the population at large. Alas, dear reader, I was too lazy.
I’ll stop beating around the bush and simply share the meat and bones of the post. Here it is, summed up in one sentence: I came across a free app with mental health/personal development mini-lectures, and I want to share it with you.
The app is called 29k. It is developed and maintained by an open-source non-profit, meaning there are no pesky ads or in-app purchases (a rare phenomenon these days!) — in other words: a gem of an app! My teacher’s instinct had me jump on the opportunity to turn it into a lesson plan.
The lesson plan
I started the lesson by discussing the questions below in groups. I then asked each group to share one thing that came up for each question.
Has your mental health changed over the years? How?
Do you think it’s more socially accepted to talk about mental health today than ten years ago? If yes, how is it noticeable?
What advice would you give someone who is feeling depressed?
What activities make you feel happy? What is it about these activities that you enjoy?
Is the topic of mental health stigmatized? If yes, in what way?
I then presented the 29k app, after which I had my students download the app, and then asked them to take (or at least start) one of the courses available. Towards the end of the lesson, I handed out the following questions and asked them to write down their answers and turn them in:
What course did you take?
What did you learn from the lesson? Share three takeaway points.
What did you think of the app? Do you think this type of service could replace a “real-life counsellor”?
Would you recommend the app to a friend? Why/why not?
If you don’t feel like sifting through thirty or so papers worth of student work, you can have the group share their experiences using the app.
Note: Depending on the group dynamic, how comfortable the students feel with themselves and the group etc., you might want to alter some of the questions slightly. Best case scenario, you’ll have an open and honest conversation.