For my course development I have decided to create an online course for Mental Wellness to be taught at the high school level (grades 11 & 12) asynchronously. I decided to create this module(s) because there is a demand and a need for youth to learn about their own mental wellness, as well as to break down the stigma and learn about various different mental illnesses. I find that the students I teach struggle with their own mental health and need coping skills and knowledge to aid them in their own mental health journey. The goal is to help small schools that do not have the resources to also offer the course in their own schools through the online platform provided through Blackboard.
As previously stated, small schools do not have the resources or the staff to teach much more than the cores in their own school settings, therefore if the course Mental Wellness is offered solely online it can outreach many more students within the school division. Furthermore, mental health in youth is apparent especially after the pandemic as anxiety, depression and social withdrawal have seem to be at an all-time high (perhaps they always were?). By fully offering this course online allows for a more equitable learning experience for all students that is not dependent on their location. This sample course will include an introduction to mental wellness where they will have to do their own wellness inventory as well as a medicine wheel/wellness wheel aiding in the cultural aspect of First Nations youth in school, as they learn about the dimensions of wellness and the meaning of the medicine wheel. We will also touch on biases and stigma that is present in mental health, giving allowance for students to understand their own biases and stigma as well as identify it in society. Additionally, there will be incorporation of media (current events), screen time and sleep and how all these factors affect our own mental wellness. We will look to individual support in their own communities and understand the differences between intervention and prevention. Lastly, we will scratch the surface of coping strategies for mainly stress and anxiety while differentiating between worry and anxiety. If I were to further develop this course, I would look at mental health illnesses such as anxiety, depression and substance use and how they affect individuals to help alleviate stigma and promote understanding.
I feel that not only giving access to all students across the province to provide equitability, but that students will perhaps be more willing to share and fully engage in their mental wellness journey by not feeling judged or criticized by their peers or people in the school that they know well. Seeing as though the course will be offered fully online and asynchronously where they do not have to engage in discussion with their peers or teacher will allow them to understand and hopefully find what they need to aid in their own mental health. The course work will include projects, blogs and worksheets where students can feel comfortable with the material they share as only the teacher can see their blogs etc.
I am excited to create a portion of this course as I will be teaching the material in the fall. I hope the mental wellness course will help students with their own mental health as well as breaking down the confines of stigma and biases that are present in our society. Feel free to comment with any suggestions of topic incorporations you feel is important to youth mental health. I look forward to your input!