Poster line


Lessons: Upper Elementary | Middle School | High School | Included in all 3 packets | Sample Lessons

This packet includes stories, discussion questions, various activities, and a poster. Below is a brief description of each.


Big Mouth Kevin
In a private conversation Lisa confides to her close friend that her brother has been hospitalized with a mental illness.  A classmate, Kevin, overhears the conversation and rudely screams out, “Mental, your brother’s a mental?” 

Through a follow-up discussion (p.3) and a letter writing activity (p.15) students explore the nature of mental illness and its impact on the brother/sister relationship (Lisa is not to blame), and the hurt Kevin’s thoughtless comment caused.

Knock, Knock Who’s There?
Ever since his mother developed depression David has become her caretaker, and his once warm relationship with his fun-loving mother has descended into one of grim responsibility. 

Through follow-up discussion questions students explore David’s feelings, the personal strengths he draws on to cope, and who David might turn to for help.

Stay at Home Mondays
This story explores the real life childhood experience of Jessica Lynch who was Miss New York State in 2003.  When Jessica changed schools in the middle of 5th grade and was rejected by her new classmates, she became withdrawn and severely depressed.

In follow-up discussion students define depression and consider what they could have done to help Jessica feel better.They are also asked to use art and role-playing to explore Jessica’s feelings.

Animated cartoons based on stories in BTS elementary packet. 
Animation Producer, Marie Leiner, Ph.D., Center of Excellence for Neurosciences, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center



Assessing Attitudes & Behavior
Students are asked to make a T-chart considering the positive and negative traits students can exhibit toward someone with a mental illness. 

Phobias Activity Sheet
Students explore the nature of phobias, some common phobias, and illustrate a phobia through art work.

Role plays for Cartoon Characters
Students cut out and color healthy brain and sick brain puppet drawings (male and female) and tape them onto pencils or tongue depressors. They then put on a puppet show in which they practice empathy through role playing scenes stimulated by seven suggested situations.
Exp: (Dialogue between Shakina and Hannah) Shakina’s parents got divorced and her mother is depressed.  Shakina used to be outgoing, but lately she’s been going home by herself after school and eating a whole quart of ice cream. One sample dialogue is included.

Braino: “Breaking the Silence” Review Game
Students fill in a bingo style card randomly with words from the Word Bank.  The teacher reads a sentence leaving out the correct Word Bank word.  Students identify the word and cover the appropriate square.  First one to fill in a line horizontally, vertically, or vertically is the winner.   


Brains Can Get Sick Too
This popular 18” x 24” poster has a sick cartoon brain with a water bottle on its head at the top with the phrase “Brains can get sick too” and a healthy baseball playing brain at the bottom with the words “But with treatment they can get better.”  A list of the symptoms of mental illness in fanciful writing appears on the right. 


Breaking The Silence: Teaching the Next Generation about Mental Illness
NAMI Queens/Nassau 1981 Marcus Avenue, Suite C-117   Lake Success, NY   11042     ph. 516-326-0797   fax: 516-437-5785

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