Supporting classroom projects focused on mental health is an important step in eliminating stigma.
Born This Way Foundation was founded in 2012 by Lady Gaga and her mother, Cynthia Germanotta. We aim to support the mental health of young people and work with them to build a kinder and braver world. Through our goals of making kindness cool, validating the emotions of young people, and eliminating the stigma surrounding mental health, we inspire acts of kindness and build communities that understand, prioritize, and foster good mental health.
There is an undeniable link between kindness and mental wellness.
While a majority of young people prioritize their mental health, less than half know where to go for support if they are in crisis. Results from our Kindness Is Action report showed that, while parents and guardians continue to play an important role in the lives of their young people, more youth are turning inward to find the motivation to be kind (51%). Young people are also recognizing their peer networks are key to resilience.
All young people deserve to have someone in their lives show them kindness, and our research shows that mental health improvements come from having someone listen when youth have a problem. Teachers play an essential role in encouraging open dialogue around mental health, and supporting classroom projects focused on this topic is an important step in eliminating stigma.
Born This Way Foundation connects existing resources in our communities with the young people that seek them, but we can’t do it alone. Teachers are often the first adults outside of family who identify mental health needs of students. Through our partnership with DonorsChoose, we aim to equip teachers and their classrooms with the necessary tools to support their students.
Resources to help support and inspire classroom projects focused on mental health
A digital platform that invites young people and youth advocates, including teachers, to share their stories and put compassion into action in their own lives.
A pledge to stay alive, to keep going, to reach out when you need help, and to promise to stay here. Find resources, connect with people for support, and find your anchor.
A campaign that calls on participants around the world to practice an act of kindness – for themselves or others – every day for 21 days. An array of programming is offered to make kindness cool and support mental health.
An initiative that reinforces the importance of equipping young people with the knowledge and confidence to recognize when someone is struggling, lean into tough conversations, and connect that person with resources to support their mental health.
A national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to LGBTQ young people under 25. TrevorLifeline is a crisis intervention and suicide prevention phone service available 24/7/365.
A nonprofit that protects emotional health and prevents suicide for U.S. teens and young adults. JED partners with high schools and colleges to strengthen their mental health, substance misuse, and suicide prevention programs and systems.
For additional resources please visit Born This Way Foundation’s Get Help Page.
If you’ve found a mental health resource that has been helpful with your students, please share it with us on social media at @btwfoundation with the hashtag #BTWFxDonorsChoose.
Need some inspiration for your next project?
Teachers like you have been leading the way in supporting their students’ mental health throughout this challenging year. Many teachers have already posted incredible projects that don’t just address mental health — they change the culture around mental health in their classrooms. We celebrate them and thought you might be inspired by their ideas too:
- Expanding Emotional Resilience Through Reading and Writing, Mrs. Petty (Grades 9–12)
- Zen in Uncertain Times, Mrs. Asmus (Grades PreK–2)
- Mental Health First Aid, Mrs. Counasse (Grades 3–5)
- Sensory/Calm Down Corner for Ms. Bolton and Ms. Dec’s rooms, Ms. Bricker (Grades PreK–2) :
- Breathe Through Change: Teaching Social-Emotional Wellness Through Mindfulness and Yoga, Ms. Cipov (Grades PreK–2)
- SPOT of Emotions, Ms. Jimenez (Grades PreK–2)
- Focus, Flexibility, and Positive Mental Health!, Mrs. Amanda (Grades PreK–2)
- A Little Touch of Home, Mr. Brian (Grades 9-12)
Let your students and fellow teachers know that your classroom is a safe place to talk about mental health.
Your classroom is an essential place to encourage a brave, open dialogue around mental health. Use these graphics on social media and in your classroom to keep the courageous dialogue going.