Every week, Rachel Theriault would ask us how we were doing, how many assignments we had that week, and she would give us "brain breaks" in class. In undertaking course design and assignments, she would consider our program workload and assign work being mindful of our mental health. She is the most considerate prof I've every had - she always puts her students first.
To me maintaining mental health is critical to a full, happy life. As a student, it is easy to forget about your mental health as you become entrapped in what feels like an "education bubble". To reach your true potential, taking the time to care of your physical and mental health is important. Doing so can also help remind you that there is life outside of your courses, and you have worth far beyond them.
I believe as educators our job is to teach students how to learn; a big part of this is teaching them that in order to reach their full potential they need to take care of their mental health. As I am still a student myself, I feel that this is not talked about often enough. I lost my mental health during my masters degree and it took me many months to gain it back. I encourage my students that taking care of your mental health is critical by discussing my previous struggles with mental health, and letting them know if I am feeling burnt out or am experiencing mental health struggles so they know they are not alone. I believe the most important thing we can teach our students is that they are more important than any course.
I just want students to know that they are not alone in mental health struggles. If you need help please reach out to someone. If they cannot help you, find someone else because I promise there is someone out there who can.
--- Rachel Theriault