As an educator, you probably know students struggling with mental health. How can you best support and help your students during their struggles? Supporting students’ mental health is a top priority for many educators. Students deserve to be provided with reliable, accessible services to help.
Now more than ever, it is essential to prioritize student mental health. It is estimated that 40% of undergraduate students live with a mental health condition (Fullmer et al., 2021). The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed the necessity for access to mental health care for all, especially students. Whether in high school or college, students deserve access to mental health services. The pandemic has proven that education and healthcare can transition to digital platforms like Zoom and Telehealth. Digital mental health options can also be implemented into curriculum by educators. These options will ensure that students have access to mental health services in and out of the classroom.
Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) is a form of education in which students learn to manage and develop their social and emotional skills. SEL empowers students with necessary life skills, such as emotional management, empathy, and maintaining relationships. SEL creates a classroom community based on trust and collaboration. Students participating in SEL learn through a rigorous yet meaningful curriculum.
SEL is primarily based on a framework created by CASEL. This framework centers upon five interrelated competencies. The five core social and emotional competencies are: self-awareness, self-management, decision-making, relationship skills, and social awareness. These core skills allow for students to develop and achieve their personal goals.
SEL and Academic Performance
Additionally, SEL is proven to improve academic performance. With the skills that SEL provides, many students can confidently handle emotional setbacks and poor academic performance. According to CASEL, students who participated in SEL programs increased their academic performance percentiles by 11 points. These students showed improvement in behavior, coping with stress, and attitudes about themselves, their peers, and their school.
Adding a social-emotional learning program to schools is essential. CASEL predicts that if schools implemented SEL into their curriculum, there would be a 27% improvement in academic performance among students. 57% more students would improve their skill levels. 22% more would have fewer conduct issues (CASEL).
Using SEL in the Classroom
Educators can implement SEL methods in the classroom to support their students during difficult times. The most vital aspect of the SEL method is creating a supportive and healthy classroom environment. Healthy environments consist of community-building activities, student-centered discipline, and fostering an emotionally-safe space. This space should also be free of any stigma surrounding emotional well-being. Additionally, the SEL method teaches educators to interweave academic instruction and opportunities to reflect on social and emotional growth. For example, working in groups in a classroom fosters a community based on relationship-building, communication, and teamwork.
Teachers and educators can also support students’ mental health outside of the classroom environment. At home, mental health is important as well. Encouraging students to eat healthy meals, get enough sleep, and take mental health breaks when needed can promote healthy behaviors.
Neolth in the Classroom
Neolth can also promote social-emotional growth in the classroom and at home. The Neolth app contains pre-made lesson plans for educators to use and assign in their classrooms. Educators can also create their own lesson plans in the app. Students can use Neolth’s activities between classes. Through the app, students also have access to a wide variety of stigma-reducing blogs and videos created by other students. The app also sends reminders to students to practice their skills.
As students participate in the app’s activities, educators can track their progress. The app makes implementing SEL simple and accessible. Within four to eight weeks, educators that used Neolth noticed results. They saw a decrease in their students’ stress and improved mental health symptoms.
Neolth and SEL
We’ll do the work for you. If you are an educator looking to prioritize your students’ mental health. Neolth is a digital stress and mental health support program for students and educators. We’re on a mission to help students and teachers stress less, build resilience, and become a part of our compassionate community. Our app helps students when they’re feeling overwhelmed with self-guided content, personalized for their mental health journey. Neolth has a growing community of Student Ambassadors from 170 schools and works with schools to improve access to mental health support for their students and teachers alike using CASEL-approved SEL content. You can learn more at neolth.com or sign up today at cloud.neolth.com.