Mental Health and Social Emotional Learning

When we think of mental health, we often think of mental illnesses such as anxiety, depression, etc., but good mental health is not simply the absence of mental illness. Good mental health also involves possessing and building on the knowledge of skills necessary to cope with challenges that life brings us.

Because many students suffer from a range of mental health problems such as anxiety, depression, self-doubt, and lack the knowledge of life coping skills to enable them to be successful and resilient, it is important that we provide students with social and emotional skills needed to deal with the ups and downs of life and improve academic achievement. Possessing social and emotional skills can make a huge impact in improving students’ mental health. Students that are taught these skills are more likely to do better in all other subjects in school and other aspects of life. Because all students enter the school with a wide range of issues outside of school, it is important that schools implement a multi-tiered system of supports to make sure that all students are able to have academic success.

As so many schools are prioritizing providing a multi-tiered system of supports for students’ mental health, we are seeing more schools utilizing universal programs such as school-wide bullying prevention programs, positive behavior interventions, counseling services, social emotional learning programs, and more. When all students are provided with this baseline of support in their schools, this helps them to have improved mental health, which then causes students to have improved academic achievement and creates a space that is a more positive environment for learning. Schools’ multi-tiered systems of support also include targeted and intensive services for students that need additional support.

In our Rock Digi online curriculum, we focus on social and emotional topics that can help students to improve their mental health such as coping with grief and loss, finding your spark, drug and alcohol abuse prevention, finding and building healthy relationships for your support system, and more. It is our goal to help as many students as possible be able to live happy and healthy lives with the skills needed to be resilient and able to deal with the ups and downs of life.

Our Rock Digi curriculum can be used in a number of different ways including in large group or classroom, small targeted groups, or with individual students. We created the curriculum to be easily tailored to fit the needs of the students that are using it. We did this by including multiple different ways to reach the student. Each lesson includes a whiteboard animation, which introduces the concepts of the lessons through visuals and narrations. Following that, each lesson includes a lyric music video which allows for students to make an emotional connection to the concepts of the lesson by experiencing the vibes and the aesthetic that the song gives while also being able to see the lyrics as they are being sung. Next are discussion questions which can be done in large groups, small groups, or individually. And following the discussion questions are the drill down activities. The drill down activities really give the opportunity for differentiated learning as it provides a variety of activities to choose from for a variety of different learning styles. Students and parents/guardians are then also given the opportunity to watch the whiteboard animation and answer two questions together at home, after the students have completed the lesson at school. This activity gives an opportunity for increased parental involvement and creates consistency between school and home.

Below is a sample of our "Coping with Grief and Loss" lesson from our Opioids, Heroin, Fentanyl, and Other Drug Prevention curriculum for grades 7-12.


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