Student Mental Health Matters

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Why Care about Student Mental, Social and Emotional Health?
Schools are where children spend most of each day. While schools are primarily concerned with education, mental health is essential to learning as well as to social and emotional development. Because of this important interplay between emotional health and school success, schools must be partners in the mental health care of our children. (President’s New Freedom Commission on Mental Health, 2003, p. 58.)  
Mental Health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices. Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood.
  • Students with good mental health are more successful in school.
  • Interventions that strengthen students’ social, emotional and decision-making skills positively affect their academic achievement (test scores and grades).
  • Just as physical health impacts learning and performance, so does mental health. When students are stressed, anxious, distracted or depressed it is difficult to pay attention, concentrate, and focus on their school work.

What Orange County Kids Are Saying about Their Mental Health

  • 23% of 7th graders, 27% of 9th graders, and 32% of 11th graders felt sad or hopeless every day for 2 or more weeks and stopped doing some usual activities (WestEd 2015-17).
  • 15% of 9th and 16% of 11th graders seriously considered attempting suicide during a 12-month period (WestEd 2015-17).