I think we can all agree that we are seeing an increase in student mental health issues in schools post-pandemic at a level that we’ve never seen before. Right? Like things we used to see once or twice a year we see every other week. Elopement, Severe Anxiety, Behavior Problems, Suicidal Ideation. And more. It is… a lot.
I was honored to give a keynote on this topic in Wake County, NC for the start of the year kickoff and below are some of the resources that will serve as an easy way to reference what I talked about. Also, I hope this post can serve as helpful to all who are reading. Here are some quick ideas of strategies to implement and resources.
A Clear Self-Referral System for Students
First of all, school counselors/social workers might be the only mental health professional a student has access to, so we have to communicate a clear way that students can sign up to see a counselor. This helps students in their first steps of knowing how to self-advocate. Here is how I set up my referral passes: Counselor Passes. Also make sure ALL staff know the referral system too!
When Students Come to See You
Giving a student a safe place to get regulated is a large part of what we can do to help. And giving kids a way to communicate is also a key.
Podcast for High Schoolers: PBS On Our Minds
Check on Your Staff
And then there is staff mental health. It’s hard for everyone is schools these days, so we need to check in on our teachers.
Keep it Awkward: Here is a Video about
Include Parents in the Conversation
Mental Health Parent Toolkit Elementary