The past couple of years have been hard. They’ve been hard on everyone, really.
However, those working in education have been hit particularly hard.
The quick pivot from in-person to fully online learning with little prep time. Returning to the classroom, but in a hybrid format. Trying to keep everyone safe and healthy—and stay safe and healthy themselves. Teachers deserve immense respect and support.
There’s another group in education that also needs support, more today than ever. That group is the students.
Funding for technology and classroom support has been made available, thanks to the three COVID-relief packages passed by Congress in 2020 and 2021. Schools are just now receiving the second round of ESSER funds, and they have until 2024 to spend the monies.
Schools have also been able to make upgrades to buildings and systems, including HVAC and ventilation, in efforts to make schools healthier.
Now many are calling for more.
Schools must pay attention not only to students’ physical health but also to their mental and emotional health.
President Biden signed a bipartisan gun measure into law on Saturday, June 25. Not only does this bill “[enhance] certain restrictions and penalties on firearms purchases” and “evidence-based best practices for school safety,” but it also “authorizes grants to expand access to mental health services; and appropriates emergency funding for mental health resources and school safety measures.”
The bill supports school-based mental health by helping “states to implement, enhance, and expand school-based health programs under Medicaid through updated guidance, technical assistance, and state planning grants.”
In addition, the bill has set aside $240 million to increase access to services, including to “provide training for school personnel and other adults who interact with school-aged youth to detect and respond to mental health issues” with another “$28 million for grants to support trauma care in school settings.”
One of the ways schools can support students’ emotional and mental health is by ensuring students have access to resources and support. These resources can help students feel supported, productive and confident in their academic endeavors.
6 ways supporting students emotionally and mentally benefit academic success
- Supports student resilience. When students have good emotional and mental health, they are more likely to bounce back from setbacks. They are also less likely to feel overwhelmed or frustrated by difficult challenges. This resilience can help them overcome challenges early on and stay focused on their goals.
- Enhances student engagement. When students are engaged in their academics, they are more likely to be motivated to learn and succeed. Engaged students are also more likely to be proactive learners who ask questions and look for solutions to problems. This type of engagement leads to better overall academic achievement.
- Reduces stress levels. When students experience low levels of stress, they are more able to focus on their schoolwork and enjoy learning opportunities. In addition, they’re less likely to feel overwhelmed by stressors that can impact their concentration and productivity at school.
- Helps prepare students for future success. Students who are not engaged in school typically perform significantly worse on tests and assessments, but they also don’t perform as well in other aspects of their life.
- Helps remediate disruptive behaviors and increase positive behavior. When children misbehave in the classroom, it is important to find out why the behavior is happening. Children rarely act out for no reason. Children with behavioral problems can suffer from attention deficit disorder or dyslexia and might need additional help to focus on what they’re learning in the classroom. Engaging them in school is more likely to improve their behavior and increase their ability to learn so that they can succeed outside of the classroom.
- Boosts student achievement. Academically, providing emotional support can help students feel more comfortable in challenging situations and boost their confidence. Additionally, it has been shown that students who receive emotional support from their peers tend to perform better in school than those who do not. In fact, one study found that providing emotional support to struggling students increased their graduation rates by as much as 25%.
It’s not that schools have been unaware of the need to address student mental health — nor is it that they are unwilling. However, school personnel are already stretched thin.
Hopefully, the funds included in this bill will provide a means for school districts to bring in more mental health support. This would mean that teachers can focus on providing academic support while mental health professionals focus on supporting students’ mental and emotional health, working together to provide a safe environment where students feel supported and comfortable so they can engage with their learning.
With social media, constant noise from the outside world and a never-ending barrage of pressure, it can be hard for young people to voice their own needs and seek help.
However, if we are able to support our students emotionally and mentally, they will be better equipped to handle whatever challenges come their way. Our Skooli team is made up of educators who know and understand the needs of teachers and administrators as they head back to the classroom and as they look toward the future.
We are here to offer support in the form of unlimited, on-demand tutoring, 1:1 homework help, and 24-hour assignment review. We’d love to talk about ways we can support your district and teachers.