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Lessons > Middle School > Emotional & Mental Health
Emotional & Mental Health

17 Lessons


In this lesson, students are introduced to different dimensions of health. They learn about physical, emotional, social and spiritual health, and discuss ways young people can maintain or improve these aspects of health. They describe a positive personal practice in each of these dimensions and share their answers with classmates. They discuss how the dimensions of health are interrelated and give examples of how different aspects of their health affect each other.


In this lesson, students create and agree to follow rules that will promote a socially healthy classroom environment. They examine what it means to be a responsible classroom member and discuss prosocial behaviors that will help promote cooperation and consideration in their classroom. Then they work in small groups to generate ideas for ground rules that will help everyone feel safe and respected during class discussions.


In this lesson, students examine what it means to be emotionally healthy. After completing an emotional health quiz for their own information, they discuss the characteristics of an emotionally healthy person and identify ways to improve emotional health. Then they make a plan to improve a positive emotional health trait.


In this lesson, students learn about the qualities and benefits of healthy relationships. After identifying qualities of healthy and unhealthy relationships, they read scenarios and identify the healthy and unhealthy qualities in each relationship. They discuss the benefits of healthy relationships, then analyze one of their own healthy relationships to describe its qualities and benefits.


In this lesson, students learn and practice skills for effective communication to support healthy relationships and emotional health. They review skills that promote effective communication and discuss how poor communication can hurt a relationship. After seeing the skills modeled, student groups practice these communication skills as both speakers and listeners. They complete a checklist to evaluate their use of the skills, and share how working on these skills can help improve their relationships.


This lesson focuses on expressing feelings in healthy ways. Pairs of students list as many feelings as they can think of, and label each feeling as easy or difficult to deal with. They discuss why it’s OK to have “negative” feelings and why it’s important to be aware of feelings. They then look at how the expression of feelings can be healthy or unhealthy, and examine consequences of expressing feelings in unhealthy ways.


This lesson teaches self-control strategies for managing anger and other strong emotions that may be difficult to express in healthy ways. After identifying triggers that can cause feelings of anger or hurt, students examine the potential consequences of expressing these emotions in unhealthy or destructive ways. They discuss the risks of impulsive behaviors and suggest strategies for controlling them. Then they explore healthy, constructive ways of dealing with anger, both when they’re angry and when someone else is angry with them.


This lesson emphasizes the importance of getting help for troublesome feelings. After discussing which trusted adults teens could talk to about troublesome feelings, students identify support people in their own lives and explain why it would be helpful to talk to a trusted adult about troublesome feelings. They look at ways to help a friend who is experiencing these feelings, learn warning signs that it is time to ask an adult for help, and are introduced to conditions that may require professional help. After exploring reasons young people may find it hard to seek help, students practice the words and actions they can use to ask for help for themselves or a friend.


This lesson teaches about stress and its effects on emotional health. Students imagine or think about a time they felt stressed and discuss their physical and emotional reactions to stress. They identify negative and positive stressors and discuss how people react to stressful situations. Students answer questions about reactions to stress and analyze their own reactions to stressful situations.


In this lesson, students identify ways to avoid or reduce stress. They read a story about a girl their age in a stressful situation and analyze things she could have done to help keep the situation from becoming so stressful. They discuss tips for managing their time and being organized that can help prevent stress, and describe how they could apply these skills to reduce stress in their own lives.


In this lesson, students learn some techniques for managing stress. After identifying their top 5 stressors, they practice the stress-management techniques of deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation and guided imagery. They assess their experience with each of these techniques and decide which techniques would work best for managing their own top stressors. They take home a family sheet and talk with an older family member or other trusted adult about managing stress.


This lesson teaches about grief and loss and the associate feelings. After discussing situations that can cause grief, students learn about the different feelings a grieving person may experience. They discuss ways people can deal with grief and practice things they can say to someone who is grieving.


This lesson helps students examine the effects of social media, online gaming and other communication technology on their mental and emotional health. After brainstorming forms of technology and social media that they engage in, they review the characteristics of an emotionally healthy person and analyze how each of these traits can be influenced both positively and negatively by social media and/or being online. They use what they’ve learned to generate a list of guidelines for using social media and online technology in ways that can support rather than undermine their emotional health. Then they create and share an advocacy message based on one of these guidelines.


This lesson introduces decision-making skills and helps students apply them to enhance emotional health. Students learn decision-making steps, and practice applying these steps to scenarios involving relationships and emotional health issues.


In this lesson, students set a goal to improve some aspect of their emotional health. After reviewing traits of emotionally healthy people, they assess how often these traits are expressed in their own lives and choose a trait they would like to enhance or improve. They learn about and practice steps for setting a goal, then write a realistic, specific and measurable goal to improve some aspect of their emotional health and develop a plan to achieve it.


This culminating activity assesses student learning for the unit through a written exam.


In this culminating activity, students apply what they have learned in the unit to offer advice on stress management, expressing feelings in healthy ways, and effective communication skills.