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How Social Emotional Learning (SEL) Can Improve Mental Health


A study by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) published in the American Medical Association's JAMA Pediatrics journal reports a considerable increase in the number of children diagnosed with mental health conditions. The study reveals that the number of children aged 3-17 years diagnosed with anxiety grew by 29% and those with depression grew by 27% between 2016 and 2020.

Addressing Mental Health Challenges with SEL

Social emotional learning (SEL) is a powerful tool for improving mental health. The process of teaching students the skills necessary to manage their emotions, build positive relationships, and make responsible decisions all has a positive impact on mental health.

"We're all human," expresses Tim Smyth in an article for NEA. "We're all going through something, every one of us, especially teenagers. They have a right to be mad, have a right to be sad, a right to be joyful."

How SEL Improves Mental Health

Because SEL helps students develop skills like self-awareness, self-regulation, and empathy, they learn to manage stress, anxiety, and mental health challenges. SEL also helps students learn how to develop positive relationships and become better communicators, which in turn improves their ability to socialize, potentially reducing feelings of isolation.

How to Implement SEL in the Classroom for Better Student Mental Health

Teaching students how to recognize and communicate their feelings is the first step. Being present in the moment and focusing on thoughts and feelings without judgment can help students more effectively manage their feelings. Another strategy is to practice gratitude, which involves intentionally focusing on the positive aspects of a student's life and expressing appreciation for them. Additionally, SEL teaches students how to improve self-care, such as getting enough sleep, eating a healthy diet, and engaging in physical activity.

Why School Day?

School Day is the best K-12 solution for measuring and managing your students' wellbeing and social-emotional skills. School Day asks students weekly questions that focus on learning, social relationships, and health. The data is analyzed, furnishing real-time insight and highlighting what's going well; resources are provided for the areas that need more attention. We are Education Alliance Finland certified and a member of SETDA's Emerging Partners Program.

Learn more and get started at https://www.schoolday.com/teacher-signup 

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