There are many things that parents, teachers, and other adults can do to help K-12 students thrive mentally and emotionally.
How to Support Student Mental Health in Schools
- Create a safe and supportive environment. Students need to feel safe and supported in order to thrive mentally and emotionally. This means creating a classroom and school environment where students feel comfortable talking about their feelings and seeking help when they need it.
- Teach students social-emotional learning skills. Social-emotional learning (SEL) is the process of developing the self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making skills needed to succeed in school, work, and life. SEL programs can help students learn how to manage their emotions, resolve conflict peacefully, and build healthy relationships.
- Encourage students to take breaks and engage in self-care activities. It is important for students to take breaks from academics and engage in activities that they enjoy and find relaxing. This could include spending time with loved ones, exercising, or reading.
- Be aware of the signs of mental health problems. If you are concerned that a student may be struggling with a mental health problem, talk to them about it and encourage them to seek professional help.
Mental health and emotional well-being are essential for student success.
Students who are mentally and emotionally healthy are more likely to attend school regularly, perform well academically, and have positive relationships with their peers and adults. They are also less likely to engage in risky behaviors, such as substance abuse and violence.
Many students struggle with mental health problems.
According to a 2021 report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly one in five K-12 students in the United States experienced mental health problems in the past year. The most common mental health problems among K-12 students are anxiety and depression.
There is a growing recognition of the importance of mental health in schools.
In recent years, there has been a growing recognition of the importance of mental health in schools. Many schools are now implementing SEL programs and providing mental health resources for students. However, there is still more that can be done to support the mental and emotional well-being of K-12 students.
Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) and Mental Health: A Priority for Schools
- A recent study found that students who participated in an SEL program were more likely to have positive academic outcomes, such as higher grades and attendance rates.
- According to a 2022 survey by the National Association of School Psychologists, 60% of school psychologists reported that they were seeing more students with mental health problems than they were before the COVID-19 pandemic.
- The Biden administration has recently announced a new initiative to promote mental health and well-being in schools. The initiative, which is called the National Strategy for Mental Health and Well-Being of Children and Adolescents, will focus on increasing access to mental health services in schools and promoting social-emotional learning.
Rosalind Wiseman, author of Queen Bees and Wannabes says, “Mental health is just as important as physical health, and it is important to start talking about it early. We need to teach our children about mental health and well-being in the same way that we teach them about physical health and well-being.”
Help K-12 Students Thrive Mentally and Emotionally
The mental and emotional well-being of K-12 students is essential for their success. Parents, teachers and other adults have a responsibility to support the mental and emotional health of students, and there are many things they can do to make a difference. By creating a safe and supportive environment, teaching students social-emotional learning skills, encouraging students to take breaks and engage in self-care activities, and being aware of the signs of mental health problems, we can help all students reach their full potential.
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