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Massachusetts Comprehensive Health Curriculum Framework - October 1999

Mental Health

Mental Health includes information to increase the development of knowledge and skills specific to one's inner life, as well as social awareness as it relates to attitudes and conduct. Mental Health is a multidimensional area involving all aspects of living, and is manifested in terms of emotional and social well being. Personality, character, heredity and environmental factors, self-esteem, and decision-making influence mental health.

Being able to identify feelings and emotions felt by all people and to explore how human beings are affected physically and psychologically by these feelings are important aspects of instruction in Mental Health. Skills development around the decision-making process, coping, resolving conflicts, and self-actualization can improve mental and emotional well being. Topics generally covered in Mental Health include: Feelings and Emotions, Identity, and Decision Making.

PreK-12 Standard 5: Mental Health

Students will acquire knowledge about emotions and physical health, the management of emotions, personality and character development, and social awareness; and will learn skills to promote self-acceptance, make decisions, and cope with stress, including suicide prevention.

Learning Standards: Mental Health

PreK-5 Feelings and Emotions
5.1 Identify the various feelings that most people experience and describe the physical and emotional reactions of the body to intense positive and negative feelings.
5.2 Apply methods to accommodate a variety of feelings in a constructive manner in order to promote well being.
5.3 Define character traits such as honesty, trustworthiness, self-discipline, respectfulness, and kindness and describe their contribution to identity, self-concept, decision-making, and interpersonal relationships.
5.4 Describe the effects of leadership skills on the promotion of teamwork.
Decision Making
5.5 Explain and practice a model for decision-making that includes gathering information, predicting outcomes, listing advantages and disadvantages, identifying moral implications, and evaluating decisions.
5.6 Explain how coping skills (such as perceiving situations as opportunities, taking action/exerting control where possible) positively influence self-concept.
6-8 Feelings and Emotions
5.7 Identify and describe the experience of different feelings (such as elation, joy, grief, and rage) and how feelings affect daily functioning.
5.8 Identify the causes and effects of depression and how to seek help.
5.9 Describe the relationships among physical appearance, changes in the body, and self-concept and esteem.
Decision Making
5.10 Describe the contribution of a personal support system to good mental health.
9-12 Feelings and Emotions
5.11 Analyze healthy ways to express emotions and to cope with feelings, including the common causes of stress, its effects on the body, and managing stress.
5.12 Identify the factors that help people deal with grief.
5.13 Analyze research on health behaviors and brain chemistry and emotional functioning.
5.14 Describe theories of personality development, including identity formation, and differentiate among the concepts of ideal self, public self, and private self.
5.15 Describe the influence of gender on identity and self-concept.
5.16 Describe the signs of destructive behavior, and identify intervention strategies and kinds of professional intervention.
5.17 Identify common mental health disorders (for example, anxiety, schizophrenic, and mood, including depression and bipolar) and treatments (for example, psychological, biomedical).
Decision Making
5.18 Identify ways in which decision-making is influenced by sound character, family, and personal beliefs.
5.19 Explain positive techniques for handling difficult decisions.

Selected Examples: Mental Health

5.1 Students draw a picture of their family members after the birth of an additional family member and give an oral interpretation in small groups.

5.5 Students design a poster showing the steps used to solve a problem and post it in the classroom.

5.7 After reading literature in which a young person experienced an intense feeling, students write a poem about the feeling(s) the character experienced.

5.10 Students compile a list of people available in the family, school, and community to help with decisions, to be a friend, or to ask advice.

5.13 Students evaluate the latest research on eating breakfast and mood.

5.15 Students have a class discussion on the influence of group stereotypes about gender roleson identity and self-concept.

5.16 Working with the school counselors, students discuss signs of suicide and to whom to go to for help.

5.19 Students review Department of Public Health pamphlets on working teens and resources, then invite a speaker from this agency to address various conflict resolution strategies in the workplace.


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Last Updated: October 1, 1999
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