Sensitive Topics

Student Needs

  • Understanding that certain topics can trigger flashbacks or ruminating.
  • Recognition that the emotional reaction to shocking scenarios can be reduced by ensuring students have a framework for setting things in context, and this leads to more reasoned analysis.


  • Provide a general acknowledgement that sensitive issues will be discussed; it is not usually necessary to offer a disclaimer on every detail.
  • Foster a sober and respectful tone with the class when discussing sensitive topics.
  • Facilitate critical analysis when judgment or hurtful ideas are expressed.
  • Direct students to mental health resources, and affirm that it is okay to seek help.

More about the Mental Health by Design course.