Back to school can be an exciting time for many young people, but it can also bring stress and anxiety. The Wisconsin Office of Children’s Mental Health (OCMH) points to resources that can help educators lessen this anxiety and prepare youth and families for the demands of the school year.
What can help strengthen student mental health?
- School connectedness and strong relationships with staff and peers
- Positive, not punitive, school culture that supports belonging
- Sufficient sleep and developmentally appropriate start times.
For additional information and supports, review the following high quality resources available to schools:
- Mental Health Literacy Classroom Lessons and Caregiver Materials
- Strengthening Student Mental Health Fact Sheet
- Reports and Briefs on Youth Mental Health
- Feelings Thermometer – Translated to 10 Languages
- Handling a Mental Health Crisis – Guide for Caregivers
- Comprehensive School Mental Health Framework
- Wisconsin Safe & Healthy Schools Center
Educators can also remind parents of the large role they have in their child’s success at school by instilling wellness habits at home. Evidence shows these practices improve mental health:
- Sufficient sleep every night
- Daily physical exercise
- Healthy diet
- Time outdoors, especially in nature
- Open conversations about mental health
Submitted by Andrea Turtenwald, M.A., Family Relations Coordinator, Office of Children’s Mental Health, Wisconsin DHS.