Finding ways to connect with all students requires reimagining our current (and arguably outdated) model, but it’s a challenge we can meet.
Here are strategies I have found to be effective::
- Harness the power of peer pressure for positive outcomes by launching a peer ambassador program. Provide a platform to empower students to act as champions, advocates, and peer facilitators for mental health support. Normalize and destigmatize the need to seek preventative measures and mental health support by making it a part of the everyday conversation at school.
- Explore alternative, and relevant, channels for parent and student communication: Technology has changed the way students speak to each other, and how they want to be spoken to. Consider text messages and email, or develop a social media campaign about the importance of mental health awareness. Students themselves are also valuable resources to help you to discover ways to effectively connect and interact with the student body.
- Offer on-demand mental health services to all students: Telehealth services extend school health offices’ reach by expanding the pool of providers and allowing more students to be seen in shorter amounts of time. This reduces wait times by eliminating gaps in time or physical distance barriers, enabling licensed therapists to become an extension of the existing school-based team, while providing immediate care to students.
As with any health-related issue, early intervention and prevention are the keys to creating positive outcomes for youth. Encouraging students to seek support, and removing stigma and barriers to receiving that support, is crucial for better results, including graduation rates. Developing a positive connection and trust, and finding value in seeking mental health support, has remarkable lifelong implications–creating a happier and more well-balanced society as a whole.
- 4 tips to build a strong classroom culture this year - September 30, 2022
- 5 ways to use ESSER funds to create cleaner environments - September 30, 2022
- 5 school safety questions your district should be prepared to answer - September 29, 2022