Reducing the Stigma of Mental Illness: A New Online Course for ABE Teachers and Tutors

green ribbon that reads mental health awareness

This free, online course was created by PANDA: Minnesota Adult Basic Education Disability Specialists in order to carry forward the mission of their organization: Providing Minnesota Adult Basic Education programs with disability support, knowledge and resources to increase academic opportunities for students. 

This course will help ABE/ESL/GED teachers and tutors understand mental health disorders common to the adult population. Learn to reduce the stigma of mental illness by understanding what it is like and how common it is.  Find out how to make it more comfortable to talk about mental illness, including what to say and do when students disclose mental illness.  Gain useful information about stress, how it impacts mental health, and learn mental wellness strategies, including how to find work-life balance.

Teachers who complete all units, including the course assignment andevaluation will receive three state-approved Continuing Education Units (CEUs) addressing re-licensure requirements for the area:  Understand Key Warning Signs of Early Onset Mental Illness in Adolescents and Adults.  (Minnesota Statute 122A.09 and 122A.18).  Final approval of CEUs is granted by local re-licensure committees operating in k-12 public school districts.  Approximate time to complete course:  3 hours.

Participants who seek to gain knowledge and understand (but not CEUs) or who are 'just browsing' are always welcome! This course is located at​ 

Course goals:

  • To help ABE teachers and tutors understand common mental health disorders in adolescents and adults and the possible impact on learning
  • To access and use relevant information from PANDA's disability website at to broaden your knowledge.

Course objectives: 

  • Gain information about signs and symptoms of common mental disorders
  • Learn how to reduce the stigma of mental illness
  • Feel more comfortable talking about mental illness
  • Understand the impact of stress and methods to reduce it
  • Find out about mental wellness, including how to find work-life balance


If you are interested in accessing a wide variety of disablitity and mental health resources, visit PANDA's disability website at This website was designed for ABE programs and teachers and is supported by the PANDA Grant, a supplemental services grant through the State of Minnesota, Department of Adult Basic Education. On the website, there are specific disability chapters, including ADHD, brain injury, and mental health, as well as topics relating to students with disabilities. The chapters are written by ABE professionals and disability specialists. Chapters include an overview of the disability, identification and diagnosis, classroom challenges, instructional strategies, English Language Learner (ELL) applications, assistive technology, resources and website links.  

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