Something that most, if not all, teachers and school staff have thought about in recent times is: “How are our students doing, really?” 


It’s been a hard several years, and it shows empathy and compassion that you’re interested in your students’ emotional well-being.


A mental health check-in is a simple way to both build relationships with your students and to take some time to talk to them about their mental wellness. We’ve come up with 25 questions to explore issues of mental health. You can use these questions to connect with students and better understand how they are doing mentally and emotionally. 


What Is a Mental Health Check-In?

Mental health check-ins are quick questions that you can use as a guide to ask your students about how they’re really feeling. Structuring a mental health check-in with your students into the schedule is a great way to make sure that you’re intentionally connecting with your students on that level — not to mention making sure that they’re getting their mental health needs met.


It’s important to note that a mental health check-in is not a replacement for mental health services. It’s more like a quick conversation that can give you some insight into how your students are feeling.


If you’re going to do a mental health check-in with your students, don’t ask students to reveal information about their mental health in front of the rest of the class. The best way to do these check-ins is either one-on-one or through a written survey.


Also, be prepared to follow-up with individual students. Further harm could be caused if a child opens up about a challenging experience, but does not get the follow-up support that they need. 


You may want to consult with a school mental health professional if any of your students have given you answers that have made you feel concerned about their mental health.


Too often, mental health check-in exercises or posters don’t include a plan for what happens if your students are feeling suicidal or otherwise not doing well. If you are going to ask students to be open about their mental health problems, make sure you have a plan in place in the event of a mental health emergency. In other words, a check-in conversation is just the first step.

25 Mental Health Check-In Questions for Students

If you don’t know where to start with designing a mental health check-in for your students, here are 25 questions you can start with. We’ve split the list up into mental health check-in questions you can use with elementary students and those you can use with middle/high school students.


Mental health check-in questions for elementary students

  1. Draw me a picture of how you’ve been feeling this week.
  2. Look at this box of crayons, and choose a color that’s the best fit for how you feel today. Can you explain why you chose this color so that I can understand?
  3. Show me with your face and movements how you’re feeling.
  4. Who is one adult that you feel safe and happy with? How does this adult support you?
  5. When you feel really sad or really mad, what do you do? How do you let those feelings out?
  6. What, if anything, are you really worried about?
  7. Has there been any bullying going on at school or at home? How has that made you feel?
  8. What are some things you’re scared of, and what helps you to feel less scared?
  9. What are some things that I, or other adults, can do to help you feel safe?
  10. How is your body feeling lately? Have you had any tummy aches or headaches?

Mental health check-in questions for middle school and high school students

  1. Breathe in and out, and notice the emotions that are inside of you. How are you feeling, really? How are you feeling in your body? How about your mind?
  2. In the past week, how often have you felt: sad, angry, happy, joyful, proud, etc.?
  3. How much emotional support do you feel you have at school? What about at home?
  4. Who do you talk to when you’re not feeling your best? How does this person support you?
  5. What’s the best thing that happened to you this week? What about the worst?
  6. How have you been sleeping lately? How have you been eating?
  7. Have you or someone you know ever struggled with depression or anxiety? What was that experience like for them?
  8. When you’re feeling down or stressed, how do you like to be supported?
  9. What makes you feel excited and joyful these days?
  10. What are the signs that you’re stressed or are needing extra support? What do you notice in yourself – what are your mental health “red flags”?
  11. How are your friendships these days? When was the last time you felt lonely, and what was that like?
  12. What are you doing in terms of self-care? How do you take care of yourself – both your body and your mind?
  13. Have you ever had thoughts about hurting yourself? Tell me about that experience, and let’s come up with a safety plan on how you can cope with it next time.
  14. Would you like to have a private conversation with me or another adult at school about how you’re feeling? 
  15. If you were having problems with your mental health, who would you go to for support?

If you’re interested in incorporating mindfulness practices in your classroom to improve your students’ mental health, get in touch with us today.


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