The Science of Mental
A National Institute of Health Curriculum for Middle School
Developed by the
National Institute of Health,
students gain insight into the biological basis of mental illnesses
and how scientific evidence and research can help students
understand its causes and lead to treatments and, ultimately, cures.
The material is available
online as a website or is downloadable for printing. The
following six components make up the lesson plan.
The Brain: Control Central
The brain is the organ that controls feelings, behaviors, and
thoughts, and changes in the brainís activity result in long- or
short-term changes to these.
Mental illnesses such as depression are diseases of the brain.
Mental Illness: Could It Happen to Me?
Though everyone is at risk, factors such as genetics,
environment, and social influences determine a personís
propensity to develop a mental illness.
Medications and psychotherapies are among the effective
treatments for most mental illnesses.
In Their Own Words
Mental illnesses affect many aspects of a personís life, but
they can be treated so that the individual can function
Youíre the Expert Now
Learning the facts about mental illness can dispel
Breaking the Silence
Breaking the Silence is an
innovative lesson plan developed by the National Alliance on Mental
Illness that uses games, posters and other activities to break the
silence about Mental Illness in our schools. These fully
scripted lessons for upper elementary, middle school and high school
students teach facts about mental illness including:
It is biology, not a
character flaw, that causes mental
Mental illness has
never been more treatable.
The warning signs of
How to overcome the
stigma that surrounds mental illness.
TEACH ABOUT MENTAL ILLNESS?
People keep quiet about mental illness. They don't talk
about their brother who hears voices, their mother who stays in bed
with depression, or the counting rituals they themselves do before
they can leave their house. So our children become hidden victims.
Afraid to speak about their illness, or unable to recognize the
symptoms, they may deteriorate for years before getting treatment.
Mental illness is
second only to heart disease as the leading cause of disease in this
country and worldwide. One in five people will be struck by mental
illness at some point in their lives. Yet there is a deafening
silence about it in our schools. Students in health classes learn
about the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse, cancer prevention, and
how a healthy lifestyle can prevent cardiovascular disease, asthma,
diabetes, and other illnesses, but many graduate from high school
without ever having had one lesson on mental illness.
SILENCE was developed for
Alliance on Mental Illness) as part of their "Campaign to End
Discrimination" to end this cycle of ignorance and shame.
To learn about the program, visit the
Breaking the Silence
To see about getting this program into your classroom or school, phone
NAMI-Yolo at (530) 756-8181.