May marks Mental Health Awareness Month, a national effort to raise awareness about mental health issues and reduce the stigma surrounding them. But supporting students’ emotional well-being is a year-round priority for parents and teachers of school-aged children. It’s also top of mind for higher education administrators and educators, as a mental health crisis engulfs schools and college campuses across the country.
The transition from high school to college can be stressful for many young adults, but the pandemic has served up a new set of challenges: illness or death of loved ones, upended routines, a forced pivot to online learning then a return to the classroom, learning loss, atrophied social skills. Anxiety and depression, long-simmering issues for years, have surged over the past two years. Last fall, the CDC reported that people aged 18-29 have the highest rate of anxiety and depression of any age group. Suicides are up as well and are the third-leading cause of death for people aged 18-24.
Against this backdrop, it’s no surprise there’s a fresh sense of urgency to create a culture of care at schools and provide easily accessible mental health resources. To support this effort, McGraw Hill partnered with The Jed Foundation (JED), a nonprofit that protects young adults’ emotional health, to offer students free online resources.
Much of that information can be accessed through two new learning modules, Student Success and Well Being learning. The modules are designed to help students successfully transition to college and manage their mental health and well-being. Student Success covers foundational material, like time management, note taking, testing strategies, and how to communicate with your instructor and network with your classmates. Well Being helps students understand how and where to get help and offers information on self-care, resilience and managing emotions. Both modules are available to students who use digital course materials on the McGraw Hill Connect platform. Instructors can assign them at any time during the semester, and because the modules are adaptive, students can move through the content at their own pace.
We also organized a panel at this year’s SXSW EDU that focused on ways colleges can support students’ mental health on campus. Panelists Diana Cusumano of JED and Lynsey Listau of Pensacola State College shared examples of programs and research-based practices that can help keep students healthy whether they’re in person or remote. To hear a recording of the discussion, visit https://schedule.sxswedu.com/2022/events/PP116490.