Bullying comes in many forms including verbal, social, physical. It happens often in schools and needs to be more thoroughly addressed in our education system. The United States government has an official website dedicated to anti-bullying measures with statistics concerning nationwide youth bullying. According to their federally collected data, approximately 21% of students ranging from age 12 to 18 have experience bullying from 2014 to 2015.1
Student Well-being refers to a “sustainable positive mood and attitude, health, resilience, and satisfaction with self, relationships and experiences at school” as defined by the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development (DEECD) of the Australian state of Victoria.2 Moreover, Australia’s Department of Education and Training discusses the optimal learning environment for student academic and social development. Students who are supported and taught important skills such as resiliency will be better prepared. Emphasizing student well-being can positively contribute to fostering students’ lifestyles like building “strong social bonds and supportive communities.”3 While researching about student well-being, I did not come across a U.S government website addressing this idea. Instead I noticed the Australian government active involvement through their multiple resources pertaining to the well-being and resiliency of students.
Is mental health the “silent epidemic”? Anderson and Cardoza suggest this perspective while discussing the mental health crisis in our schools.4 Mental health issues impact students in their well-being and performance in schools. Chronic absence and low achievement are one of many problems which students dealing with mental health may encounter. America is experiencing a strong prevalence of mental health issues among young adults. According to Active Minds’ website, less than 20% of children and adolescents who have diagnosed mental health problems obtain the proper treatment they need.5 There is a widespread lack of mental health resources for students.
Whole child-centered policies and models work to towards a goal of a child’s improvement in their multilayered development. The concept of a whole child perspective in education surrounds each child’s “cognitive, physical, social, and emotional development”6. Approaching a whole child framework requires attention by numerous agencies. Schools would benefit from integrating this type of model. However, institutions cannot do this alone. Help from local, state, and federal levels need to be a priority.
Mindfulness is commonly known as a helper tool for reducing stress. Mindfulness First describes this practice as a means in cultivating tools which address “conflict and adversity” and increase skills to “focus and control impulses.”7 Mindfulness can benefit student well-being, especially in poor school climates.
Social and Emotional Learning:
The Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL) is a leading organization which highlights the importance of social and emotional learning. CASEL identifies five core competencies as part of a systemic framework for social and emotional learning. These five areas include self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making.8