After 18 months of pandemic conditions, lockdowns, and restrictions, schools, educators, and communities are working harder than ever to address mental health concerns and decrease suicide rates by implementing approaches that focus specifically on school-aged populations. Programs that cultivate positive teacher-student relationships function in collaboration with existing mental health services to broaden mental health care quality and access, meaning that struggling students can access care and treatment sooner.
In Montgomery County, Virginia, schools have found that adopting mental health days has met their students where they are at. North, in Ramsay, New Jersey, mental health training is led by teenagers in school who can identify mental health warning signs in their peers and and quickly attend to those signs as "first responders". A nonprofit program in Philadelphia is helping students stay on track through meditation. The 500-student Lapwai School District in Idaho takes an all-bases-covered approach to student well-being, including leveraging partnerships with the Nez Perce tribe and local community to address youth mental health. Learning from what's worked in other locations, both within state and nationally, Utah schools have found ways to improve access to mental health resources, including increased education around the importance of learning coping strategies and building healthy relationships.
Whether focused exclusively on students or more broadly on educational support systems including bus drivers, classroom aides, and parents, these efforts cut down on suicide rates, encourage resiliency, and focus on personal assets rather than problems.
- How can mindfulness and meditation help anxious students?
- The stories in this collection contain a variety of strategies implemented by schools, educators, parents, and communities to build resilient, secure, emotionally healthy students. Are any of these strategies in place at your school? Are there any opportunities for you to advocate for programs that improve student mental health (meditation courses, trauma-informed classrooms, federal financial assistance for counselors and resources...)?
- Many of the solutions in this collection are specifically targeted to K-12 students. Do you think university students require different forms of intervention/support? What might that include?
- Choose an Issue Area or Success Factor related to mental health care. Then, create a collection and select at least 4 (or more) stories from the Solution’s Story Tracker that relate to your topic. If working in groups, each group can present on the issues and solutions they found most compelling.
- Journalism is a collaborative practice: reporters are writing for their community, but they also depend on community members as sources for information. Indeed, the very purpose of journalism, according to the American Press Institute, is to provide citizens with the information they need to make the best possible decisions about their lives, their communities, their societies, and their governments. SJN wants to help connect news readers and journalists. Beside the name of the journalist on any of our story pages or the results page of the Solutions Story Tracker, you’ll find a Twitter icon that will link you directly to the journalists profile. Tweet at them with questions or compliments about their piece - you might be surprised by how much writers want to engage with their audiences! Don’t forget to tag us too (@soljourno) and use the hashtag #journalistintheclassroom if you are reading as part of an academic assignment.