Managing Our Minds: Mental Health Toolkits for Elementary School Children

Mental health diagnoses began as early as pre-school and the effects of mental health can extend well into adulthood. Mental health literacy has been shown to have a profound role in helping children have a better understanding of their mental wellbeing and create a toolbox of coping mechanisms early on. The aim of this project is to create toolkits surrounding elementary education on neuroscience and psychiatry topics. There are three activities integrated into this toolkit that can be used in schools and at home. These toolkits include instruction modules on mental health topics, activity sheets containing hands-on activity directions, coping mechanisms and early intervention strategies, and Iowa City mental health resources to promote. The content within the toolkits is written towards an audience of 3rd grade to 5th grade. With these toolkits, I also hope to go into after-school programs and do these activities with children. My goal is to help students gain more awareness of the science behind their mental well-being and empower them with early coping mechanisms and resources to build early habits that help preserve their mental health.

Project Author(s): 
Author Bio(s): 
Samyukta Karthik is a junior from Cedar Rapids, IA, pursuing a major in Biology and Psychology with a minor in Chemistry. She is conducting research on the Parabrachial Nucleus and its projection patterns under Dr. Joel Geerling within the Department of Neurology. As a Latham Fellow, Samyukta hopes to work on early intervention and destigmatization of mental health within marginalized communities through science communication and engagement. In her free time, she enjoys graphic designing, painting, reading, and yoga.