3 keys to supporting students during a mental health crisis

A January 2022 survey published in JAMA Pediatrics confirmed that many educators, administrators and support workers already knew: school closures, disrupted education and an epidemic year combined to create a worrying mental health crisis among adolescents.

The study found that up to 60 percent of students are experiencing “strong pain” with anxiety and depression. The results echoed a recent report by the American Psychological Association (APA), which found that more than 80 percent of adolescents experienced “more intense stress” during the epidemic.

In other words, US Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy notes, “The mental health challenges of children, adolescents and young adults are real and pervasive. Even before the epidemic, an alarming number of young people struggled with helplessness, depression and suicidal thoughts – and rates have risen over the past decade. “

To support students in these uniquely challenging times, schools are implementing a variety of stop-gap solutions, including short-term closures, to help reduce stress when changing resources, adjusting curricula, improving student learning and mental health outcomes. Increase the scope of care for.

Each of these efforts is excellent, but if implemented alone, it is unlikely to provide the tools needed to improve children’s well-being. However, when schools remove barriers to accessing support, streamline onboarding to maximize resources, and increase collaboration across support systems, they can most effectively help students achieve overall well-being.

Overhaul support services

It’s hard to ask for help. It requires great courage, the right opportunity and a listening ear, three elements that are often persuaded for students. Therefore, when a student communicates a need to a teacher, instructor, counselor, administrator, social worker, or other trusted adult, a safe and secure process is required for schools to share this information with qualified support services.

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