Respected resources to teach students about depression and anxiety

Robin Williams

Robin Williams

With the passing today of Robin Williams due to his reported battle with depression it might be a worthwhile process to discuss depression with your teenage students.

Whilst many students would be aware of bullying and unsociable behavior from the moment they enter school, it would be rare that they are made aware of depression and the devastating effects it can have on on individuals and families.

It is a silent killer, In my homeland of Australia more than twice as many people die as a result of suicide than is claimed by the road toll.  Of them more than two thirds are young males.

So here are a few recognized organizations that provide information to students about understanding and dealing with depression. 

Teen Depression from

NHS UK - Child Depression information

Headspace Australia

Kids Helpline


5 persuasive writing prompts about drugs


Drugs have always been a meaty topic for high school and college students as they are at an age when they are becoming aware of the social and health issues associated with drug use but also surrounded by the confusing messages from music, films and social media that drugs are "cool."


These persuasive writing prompts will certainly require your students to do some research to form an educated opinion about issues surrounding drug use.

Remember that if you are looking for more great free resources and structured guides to teaching all aspects of English especially writing be sure to visit

Prompt 1) In order to crack down on drug use and distribution in schools, many high schools have begun to conduct targeted searches of student lockers, backpacks and other "personal" properties. Keeping in mind that the Supreme Court has ruled these types of searches as constitutional, do you feel that this is still a violation of student rights? Or, do you think that since the school is ultimately responsible for the well-being of it’s students, they should have the right to conduct these searches in the effort of keeping the student body safe?

Prompt 2) With more professional and college athletes being drug-tested, do you feel that High School athletes should be subjected to regularly drug tests?

Prompt 3) Should marijuana be legalized? Site your position and specific examples that support this decision. Simply "because I like it," is not an example.

Prompt 4) Medical Marijuana has been legalized in California for some time now. Do you feel that it is okay for the State to decide that marijuana should be regulated and distributed any other prescription drug, or do you feel that this should be a decision made on the Federal level, and California should step inline with the rest of the country?

Prompt 5) Do you think law enforcement agencies and government officials spend too much time and energy focusing on marijuana instead of other drugs (heroin, cocaine,  meth, etc…)


Students, Mobile phones and Potential Cancer Risks???

Today the World Health Organisation released an interesting press release about the Potential risks of mobile phones and links to brain cancer.  Let me repeat that I am not saying these devices cause cancer but they have officially been given the 'maybe' status by the worlds most recognised health Advisory Centre.

Many teenagers spend hours on these devices every day and this could be an issue they might like to know more about.

For years as a teacher in health classes we have discussed the risks of smoking, drugs, bad diet and so on... So should we make an issue of this or are we just scaremongering...

I would probably err on the side of caution and tell students the potential risks and let them make their own minds up but I would strongly recommend the following use of a mobile phone until we know a little more facts.

Try to limit talk time on mobile phones - text MSG or landline where possible.

Try and carry your phone in a bag - not in pockets etc.

If you are going to play games for extended periods - Switch to Airplane mode - This will turn off all radios in the phone

I often look at the wireless points plastered around our schools and wonder what the deal is with those too.  We all have a right to ask questions when it comes to our health.  I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic as both a student or a teacher.


Mind and Body: Investigating the Health and Science of Meditation

Getty ImagesGo to related blog post »Overview| What is meditation? How have scientists explored the effects of meditation on the mind and body? In this lesson, students participate in a guided meditation, then learn about meditation and current research showing how meditation affects the brain and body. They then annotate diagrams of the brain and body with the information they’ve learned about meditation’s effects.

Materials| Computers with Internet access, stopwatch.

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Maths & Health Lesson Plan: McMaths Fast Food Challenge

Lesson McMaths Fast Food Challenge:  Recommended for students aged 11 - 16.

This Lesson Covers both curriculum areas of Maths and Health including percentages, conversion & Calculations, Food tables, nutritional Value and Recommended Daily Intake.

I did this series of lessons earlier in the year with my students and it was one of the best learning experiences we had as we learnt a great deal about nutrition and some pretty open ended maths strategies over the course of the week that it runs for. 

Students were really engaged learning about these 'fast' foods they eat regularly and the excessive amount of calories they consume if they are not selective when eating out at fast fast food venues.  More so some of them were shocked at the amount of exercise required to burn off that Big Mac, Coke and Fries and really started to make the connection that 'fast food' was a 'slow slog' to burn off.





The Learning Intentions for this lesson were.

•    Students will research a variety of take-away food menus to examine the amount of fats, carbohydrates and protein contained within some of their favourite fast foods.
• Students will create a menu to eat from a variety of fast food venues for an entire day to determine if it is possible to eat a nutritional diet of fast food venues alone. Students must that they stay within recommended dietary requirements for their age.
• During this task students will be using a range of mathematical concepts and procedures and gain a better understanding of reading food labels and making sense of what they mean.
• It is recommended that students have a basic understanding of the five major food groups and the food pyramid before completing this activity.

Give us your Feedback:  We would love to hear about your use of this lesson and how we might improve it even more in the future.  Post a comment below.

Get fit watching the Tube

I don't know whether the students or us teachers will get more benefit out of this one but I got sent a link to Excercise TV a site that does have finacial goals but the vast majority of it is free.  It contains a rangoe of free workout plans and heaps of excercise and meditiation videos and has some worthwhile diet and lifestyle content.  Definitely aimed at your teen to adult market.  Check it out here.