Schools can play a vital role in ensuring and developing students’ long-term success by investing in their emotional wellness.
According to research from the University of Washington, students reap the rewards of improved self-control, interpersonal skills, and problem-solving abilities when schools put resources toward cultivating emotional wellness.
The study also showed that students with high emotional wellness scores benefit from better-quality relationships with adults and peers, regardless of race or socioeconomic status. Solid emotional footing lifts pupils’ academic achievement and ups their commitment to schooling.
Even during a pandemic, when uncertainty and changes in routine tax mental health, schools have the ability—perhaps even the imperative—to monitor and encourage students’ emotional wellness.
Characteristics of Successful School Programs
The goal of emotional support programs is to set young people on a positive development trajectory so they can fully realize their potential and rise to challenges.
According to research, the most successful mental health programs have a few things in common.
The best programs assess both positive and negative aspects of emotional wellness, focus on action instead of data collection, and catch trends as they happen.
Too often, schools rely on yearly or biannual check-in programs to gauge the emotional wellness of the study body. These programs, usually proctored at the end of a term, can provide useful year-over-year data but leave little room for actionable responses.
Using aggregate data means that vulnerable students often slip through the cracks, and the lag time between data collection times fails to give an accurate picture of mental health trends during the term.
EI Pulse from Educator Impact is a practical and simple way to appraise student wellbeing. Through weekly sixty-second check-ins, the application provides students a set time and space to ask for help.
Because the check-ins happen every week, staff members can spring into action when a student is distressed, stopping mental health crises before they get too deep.
The app also allows staff to adjust their approach in real time. If a student is not responding well to new methods, educators can try a new track instead of spending an entire year on efforts that do not produce results.
EI Pulse surveys every student in the school, so administrators have a chance to identify trends as they sweep across classrooms and to implement school-wide policies to change momentum.
Challenge of Assessing Emotional Wellness during a Pandemic
The lack of face-to-face instruction in distance learning can make it harder for teachers to notice mental health declines or emotional turmoil in individual students, who may be feeling a greater sense of isolation due to the pandemic. Feeling isolated often leads pupils to experience negative emotions and display greater apathy toward school and life.
Spending too long with these feelings can push bright students off track and do long-term damage to their chances for higher educational attainment and rewarding careers.
Fortunately, schools are in the right position to spot such digressions and move to correct them. This is illustrated perfectly through a case study of Tasmania’s largest school, St. Patrick’s College.
When the COVID-19 crisis hit Tasmania, St. Patrick’s quickly moved its offerings online. However, distance learning seemed to take a toll on students, who appeared to lack the sense of connection and belonging that the college prided itself on.
Administrators abandoned the biannual check-ins in favor of EI Pulse. Quickly, many students who had stayed quiet before were requesting support services via the app.
St. Patrick’s addressed the individual levels of emotional wellness in students and implemented practices throughout the college that led to improved wellbeing.
Sixty Seconds to Change Outcomes
EI Pulse is a user-friendly application that asks students to spend sixty seconds a week thinking about their mental health.
Research shows that students who feel that their school cares about their mental health do better in class, have more fulfilling relationships, and suffer less social anxiety.
Too often, however, the standard models of monitoring student wellbeing fall short. Young people need a safe, easy way to ask for help. This means one that is regularly available and can be done privately.
The EI Pulse app is a safe and secure way for students to signal their distress directly to staff without going through uncomfortable channels or procedures. It’s a simple, one-minute survey that coaches students to regularly consider their mental health and ask for help when they need it.
It also offers schools a way to improve. Staff can help students sooner and keep better tabs on their progress, which leads to greater success in school and in life.
Educator Impact is dedicated to helping students find easier ways to ask for help, giving teachers real-time insights on those students, and helping school leaders identify trends in school wellbeing and culture trends.