As educators and stakeholders continue to fight back against poor mental health, it’s important to use all available tools available to help

How analytics can identify student mental health challenges

As educators and stakeholders continue to fight back against poor mental health, it’s important to use all available tools available to help

As we get closer to the upcoming school year, it’s important to think about how to address student mental health. The pandemic has been difficult for everyone, but it has had an especially significant impact on our youth, who were already experiencing record high levels of poor mental health: The CDC reports that “More than one in three high school students had experienced persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness in 2019, a 40 percent increase since 2009.”

After having their lives upended by COVID-19, students are finally getting back into the routine of things, but their mental health should still be a major concern, as poor mental health can lead to trouble performing well in school, social isolation, and even self-harm or death.

In 2019, the CDC also reported that one in six youths had made a suicide plan within the last year, showing just how important it is to address this problem.

When it comes to a young person’s mental health, it is typically a parent, teacher, or other school staff member who will first notice something is wrong, but without proper communication, this observation can be overlooked, leading to the student not receiving the help they need. Instead, when parents partner with their child’s school, they can work together to identify students who need help and provide them with the proper resources.

When trying to identify students who may need help, it won’t always be obvious. Students can display many factors that can indicate they are struggling, like a drop in their grades, increase in absences, or misbehavior, but when someone only notices one of these factors, it can be easy to dismiss. Instead, if these data points are recorded and able to be viewed side-by-side, it can show a clearer picture. This is why monitoring, reporting, and data analysis technology should be implemented in schools.

If teachers and administrators are provided with an analytics dashboard where they can view student snapshots that include information about their grades, attendance, and activities, they can be more aware of each student and whether they are displaying any signs that might indicate they have poor mental health. For example, one teacher may notice that a student has been showing up to class in a bad mood, but this alone doesn’t necessarily set off any alarms. However, if this teacher has a data analytics dashboard where they can record this information, it might reveal a pattern in the student’s overall behavior. Once this is apparent, the school can intervene. Parents can also make use of the data analytics dashboard. They can login anytime on their computer or smartphone to check in on the status of their child, including their attendance, grades, and more. This allows parents to be kept informed and able to address any concerns that they may have with their child at home.

Parents can also team up with their child’s school through a communication portal. A communication portal is a great way for schools to communicate any important information with their students’ parents, such as any changes to school guidelines/protocols, event information, or general announcements. This allows parents to be more involved in their child’s life, which can be a major factor in identifying any mental health changes or problems. It also allows for easy two-way communication between parents and their child’s school. For example, if a student is struggling at home, it might be beneficial to communicate this with the student’s teachers. With a communication portal, parents can send messages directly to the school.

When both parents and school staff are working together, it is easier to identify students who are struggling with their mental health. Of course, technology can’t do everything, it’s up to schools and parents to properly address the problem with the right tools, such as counseling, therapy, or other mental health support. However, none of this can happen until someone knows something is wrong. As we continue to fight back against poor mental health, it’s important to use all the tools available to us to help.

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