1. Know the Signs
Is your student’s body language different?
- Isolating from students
- Hygiene has changed
- Affect is flat, humor has changed
- Consistent irritability
- Difficulty concentrating on material/discussions
- Missing class more often
- Unable to hold eye contact like before
2. Establish a Routine
Especially in unusual school environments such as mandated remote learning, it’s important to maintain a routine and clearly communicate that routine so that students have a sense of normalcy that can be relied upon.
3. Tend to Yourself
If a student’s trauma is bringing up trauma from your own life or past, take care of yourself before supporting your student.
- Increase self-care activities
- Engage in self-soothing strategies
- Speak to someone about triggers, perhaps even a mental health professional
- Breathe before engaging with student
- Direct student to speak with another educator/professional at school
- Contact the CRISIS Text line by texting HOME to 741741
4. Open Up Space to Talk
Acknowledge that you see your student struggling and let them know that they can talk to you. Put an emphasis on building relationships and supporting the holistic well-being of your students.
5. Provide Resources
Share self-help resources in multiple languages with your students and information about organizations that do pro bono or affordable mental health work. Include resources that address specific circumstances that might be compounding students’ trauma including support for undocumented and mixed-status families and low income families. Make these resources easily accessible so that all students can benefit from them without having to ask.
6. Manage Expectations
During particularly stressful or triggering moments, students are often not able to do their best work. Know that most students are doing everything they can and recognize their efforts. Consider being lenient with deadlines and other expectations. Create a way for students to take space during class or from class work if they feel triggered or overwhelmed.
Visit Tolerance.org to learn more about using a trauma-informed approach to support students and visit Latinx Therapy for additional mental health resources.