A US teacher’s “check-in” board, which allows students to anonymously express how they are feeling, has gone viral.

The remarkable idea that encourages students to write their names on the back of post-its and pick a column that reflects their emotions, has been shared on Facebook.

The photo posted by Maine woman Tara Mitchell Holman shows a whiteboard with “Monday Check-in” written on top and sections underneath labelled: “I’m great”, “I’m okay”, “I’m meh”, “I’m struggling”, “I’m having a tough time & wouldn’t mind a check-in” and “I’m not doing great”.

Holman praised the teacher’s idea, writing: “Wow. This teacher has her students write their name on the back of a sticky note and place it on the chart each Monday.

“She then talks privately throughout the week with each child about where they placed the sticky note and if they need to talk. A weekly check in on her students.

“Maybe we could pass this along to teachers.”

Many loved the idea, praising the teacher for her technique.

“What a wonderful idea!!” one person commented.

“Love this!” another agreed. “Saving this for when I get my own classroom one day!”

“Incredible. Smart great teacher full of heart not bitter or hateful we need more teachers like this,” one person wrote.

The post has been shared more than 175,000 times and received 47 reactions.

At the start of March, New Zealand intermediate schools were stepping up to ease an “epidemic of anxiety” among their students with a new programme “Jade Speaks Up”.

The programme found that 47 per cent of children in the first eight pilot schools were “at risk of mental unwellness” on two standard testing scales.

That number dropped to 36 per cent after the 10-week Jade Speaks Up programme which teaches children how to recognise and “name” their emotions, how to keep themselves safe in scary situations, and how to support each other through problems.

But it is still far higher than Ministry of Health data showing that 8 per cent of NZ children aged 3 to 14 had “concerning” social, emotional and behavioural difficulties across its last three surveys from 2012 to 2016.

Altogether, 28 per cent of children had “concerning” scores for at least one of the four categories of emotional symptoms, peer problems, hyperactivity or conduct problems.

“This is an epidemic that we are dealing with,” said Jade Speaks Up co-author Elaine Dyer, a former chief executive of Violence Free Waitakere.

Her co-author Andrea O’Hagan, a Whakatāne educational consultant, said schools could no longer ignore students’ mental health.

“If you are stressed or sitting in a place of anxiety or worry from the past, you can’t apply yourself so well to any new learning,” she said.

Yet Jenni Rodan, a teacher at one of the pilot schools, Waikōwhai Intermediate in Mt Roskill, said teachers were not trained to help anxious and stressed children.

“It’s such a difficult subject that sometimes it can be put in the too-hard basket,” she said.

WHERE TO GET HELP:

If you are worried about your or someone else’s mental health, the best place to get help is your GP or local mental health provider. However, if you or someone else is in danger or endangering others, call police immediately on 111.

OR IF YOU NEED TO TALK TO SOMEONE ELSE:

• LIFELINE: 0800 543 354 or 09 5222 999 within Auckland (available 24/7)
• SUICIDE CRISIS HELPLINE: 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO) (available 24/7)
• YOUTHLINE: 0800 376 633 ,free text 234 or email talk@youthline.co.nzor online chat.
• NEED TO TALK? Free call or text 1737 (available 24/7)
• KIDSLINE: 0800 543 754 (available 24/7)
• WHATSUP: 0800 942 8787 (1pm to 11pm)
• DEPRESSION HELPLINE: 0800 111 757
• SAMARITANS – 0800 726 666.

Source: NZ Herald

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