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SEL Promotes Positive Mental Health in Students & Staff

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States, districts, and schools often use SEL to support the mental health and well-being of their students.

Today's K-12 students and staff need Social Emotional Learning. Commonly referred to by its acronym, SEL is a process that you can integrate throughout your curriculum and programming to promote mental health.

Why is SEL so important right now?

Schools across the United States are overwhelmed students struggling with their mental health. Even the number of mental health-related emergency room visits among adolescents aged 12–17 is steadily rising.

People need professional care and counseling, but according to data compiled by KFF, more than 129 million Americans live in areas with a documented shortage of mental healthcare professionals.

Students and their families seeking services are often met with limited resources, inequities in distribution, and rural locations requiring transportation — challenging odds at best.

Consequently, teachers and staff are also experiencing the toll these conditions entail. In addition to any personal stressors a teacher may be experiencing, a classroom full of emotionally struggling students is a heavy burden. The weight of this may partially explain the current teacher shortage, a shortage especially prevalent in our southern states

Keep reading to learn how SEL can promote positive mental health in both K-12 students and staff.

SEL Explained

The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) defines SEL as “the process through which all young people and adults acquire and apply the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to develop healthy identities, manage emotions and achieve personal and collective goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain supportive relationships, and make responsible and caring decisions."

This learning process is so effective that "93% of teachers want a greater focus on SEL in schools." Today's teachers agree that social and emotional skills are teachable. They see the need and are calling for schools to prioritize the integration of SEL practices and strategies.

SEL & Mental Health

CASEL explains how states, districts, and schools often use SEL to support the mental health and well-being of their students:

"While SEL and mental health are not the same, SEL can promote positive mental health in many ways. By promoting responsive relationships, emotionally safe environments, and skills development, SEL cultivates important 'protective factors' to buffer against mental health risks.

In this way, SEL is an indispensable part of student mental health and wellness, helping to improve attitudes about self and others while decreasing emotional distress and risky behaviors. SEL should be implemented as part of a system of mental wellness supports and resources that include promotion, prevention, early intervention, and treatment."

SEL Outcomes

With the help of True Colors, you can instill SEL practices throughout your district that work toward the following outcomes:

  • Shared experiences that set the foundation for genuine relationship building and honest dialogue
  • A common language that creates a safe environment for social emotional learning
  • Increased self-awareness helps educators and their students better understand themselves and their peers
  • Elevated empathy that improves understanding of others to prevent conflict and foster collaboration
  • Strengthened emotional intelligence in faculty, staff, and students
  • Increased personal and professional effectiveness
  • Enhanced ability to see the big picture
  • A foundation for diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB) programming

Areas to Incorporate SEL

True Colors programs and consulting services are ideal for K-12 settings at public or private educational organizations of any size. We can partner with you to use SEL to improve student and staff mental health wide range of areas.

For Students

  • SEL instruction
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Positive learning environment
  • College readiness
  • Increased college enrollment
  • Matriculation/graduation rates
  • Post-college success
  • Career readiness

For Staff

  • Onboarding
  • Interactive training
  • Employee wellness programming
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Positive working environment
  • Mentoring
  • Vision and mission building
  • Strategic plan development

Integrate the SEL process into your school

Whether this is the first time you're considering SEL practices or need to fine-tune what you're already doing, True Colors can help.

By partnering with True Colors, our trainings will naturally integrate the SEL process within your school to enhance organizational culture and improve students’ long-term success.

Reach out today. Let's do what we can to improve the mental health of your students and staff.