Have you ever wondered how Valentine’s Day began? Accounts vary, but Saint Valentine of Terni reportedly sent a letter to a woman he admired, signed, “From your Valentine.” Other historians connect mid-February to Lupercalia, a Roman fertility festival. Regardless of the disputed origins, many think of Valentine’s Day as a time to send friends and lovers reminders of their affection.
Fast forward to the 2022 classroom: Teachers receive flower bouquets; decorations are abundant; candy is everywhere. Some students get special attention from their romantic interests via public displays of affection, cards, gifts, and more.
Now consider a non-romantically attached student, already experiencing the developmental tumult and struggle common among teens. Imagine a day where, at every turn, you face reminders of how different you are. What can an educational professional do to alleviate some of the pain inadvertently doled out to many students on February 14?
- Remind students there are many people who feel lonely—it’s okay to feel sad.
- Encourage students to think about how they can treat themselves. Watch a favorite movie, take a bike ride, make a pizza. It’s okay to shower yourself with attention!
- Dedicate a time to gather with close friends. Loneliness can be eased when students surround themselves with friends. Remember, romantic love is NOT the only kind of love!
- Commit a random act of kindness. This will provide a gift to others and take focus away from feelings of loneliness.
- Encourage a student to journal positive self-talk. If they don’t remember why they are special, remind them!
- Avoid social media. It will be rife with couples’ activities and posts.
- Remind students this is simply another day and it, too, shall pass.
“Helps teachers to empower their students with an introduction to mental health, depression-literacy, help-seeking and what it takes to promote good mental health.”
Resources for educators, including a Classroom Mental Health Toolkit for High School.
Offers information specifically addressing teenage depression.