Promoting Mental Health and Wellness in Your School: Practical Strategies for Educators and Administrators
Educators, administrators, and school staff play a vital role in fostering student mental health and wellness. By implementing practical strategies and developing supportive mental health policies, schools can create a safe and inclusive environment that supports students’ mental health needs.
Following are a range of approaches to help promote student mental health and well-being:
- School Culture: Students are more likely to feel safe, respected, and supported in schools that have a positive and inclusive school culture. Establish peer support networks, mentorship programs, and anti-bullying initiatives to promote respect, empathy, and a sense of belonging among students and staff. Encourage active listening and practice positive communications with students, such as personally greeting each student as they enter the classroom.
- Education and Awareness: Use standards-based, whole-class instruction to support students’ social/emotional development, including learning strategies, self-management and social skills. Raising awareness about mental health and highlighting the importance of seeking help can reduce stigma. Incorporate mental health topics into the curriculum by teaching coping skills, strategies to overcoming barriers and adapting to change, and encourage students’ belief in their ability to succeed.
- School Counseling and Mental Health Services: Ensure students have access to a school counselor, school psychologist, and other specialized instructional support personnel in their building, as well as to qualified mental health professionals through referrals to off-site providers. Display information about school counseling as well as mental health resources in classrooms and other visible areas to eliminate barriers to students seeking support.
- Staff Training and Development: Implement a school-wide approach to ensure all staff can recognize the signs of mental health issues and understand how to connect students to appropriate support. Ensure early identification of students who may need additional support and use a tiered system approach to address student needs.
- Physical Activity and Recreation: Encourage physical exercise, which improves mental wellness, reduces stress, and enhances concentration. Incorporate opportunities for recreational activities, sports, or exercise breaks for students during the school day.
- Mindfulness and Relaxation Techniques: Introduce mindfulness exercises and relaxation techniques in the classroom to help students manage stress and improve focus. Teach breathing exercises, guided imagery, or meditation techniques that promote self-awareness and emotional regulation.
- Family Involvement: Engage parents and guardians in understanding and supporting their child’s mental health. Organize workshops, seminars, or parent-teacher meetings to provide resources and strategies for promoting wellness at home.
- Policies and Resources: Develop comprehensive mental health policies and allocate resources to support their implementation, including investing in school counselors, school psychologists, and other specialized instructional support personnel. Collaborate with community mental health organizations and providers, hospitals, and clinics to provide additional resources, referrals, and partnerships.
As you consider these approaches, it is important to adapt them based on the specific needs and resources of your school and community. By implementing even one of these strategies, educators and administrators can contribute to creating a supporting and inclusive environment that promotes student mental health and wellness.
-by Jill Cook, Executive Director of the American School Counselor Association
In the coming months, the Mental Health Matters Educators Hub will provide additional blogs from experts, practitioners, and education professionals who will share their expertise and insights. We will also continue to add to the resource section where you can find a compilation of practical information and research-based resources from partnering organizations and other leading national groups.
In the resource section, you can find a compilation of practical information and research-based resources from partnering organizations and other leading national groups. Find our growing list of resources here.
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 ClassroomWise.org https://youtu.be/VveZjXyL6hM