Social Emotional Learning.
We often hear about social emotional learning in school but what does it mean? Everywhere children go they bring their emotions. In fact, feelings fuel behavior. So when we learn what is behind feelings we can better understand why children behave in certain ways.
If your child has ever broken a bone or had braces, the doctor typically takes out a plastic joint or teeth set and shows you what their structure should look like and then explains how he or she plans to fix it. With mental health, finding solutions can be more complicated but knowing what “healthy” is first, can help improve fluctuations. Just like physical health, we all have mental health. Social emotional learning is one part of that process.
Mental health continuously shifts, changes and evolves during a lifetime. Identifying the current state of a person’s mental health in relation to how a person is functioning in the world and includes some of the factors that contribute to various states of mental health.
1. Intensity: How intense are your child’s behaviors, thoughts or emotions?
2. Frequency: How often does your child feel or behave this way?
3. Duration: How long do these individual episodes or periods last?
4. Functionality: Above all else, consider how your child is functioning and whether or not your child is impaired in any way at home, at school or with friends.
If a child’s emotions or behaviors are more intense, frequent or longer in duration than most other children his or her age and those emotions or behaviors are causing impairment, it may be a sign of concern and it may be time to contact a mental health professional for a consultation.
Studies show that emotional intelligence enhances a developing mind and its capacity to integrate skills, attitudes, and behaviors effectively and ethically into daily tasks and challenges.
The Parent Perspective.
The Youth Mental Health Project demystifies children’s mental health in an effort to educate, reduce misunderstanding and encourage empathy. Our Mental Health 101, workshops, film screenings, and additional mental health resources educate communities that mental health, like physical health, exists on a continuum and is ever evolving.
What if everyone understood mental health the way they understand physical health?
We would not have to be in crisis. The Youth Mental Health Project helps parents, caregivers and communities – to nurture their children’s mental well-being so they will benefit from the same quality of care for their mental health as they currently experience for their physical health.
Research shows that social emotional learning improves achievement in school by an average of 11 percentile points. And it also increases prosocial behaviors (such as kindness, sharing, and empathy), improves student attitudes toward school, and reduces depression and stress among students (Durlak et al., 2011). Collaboration between classroom work, schoolwide efforts, family, and community practices help students develop these five tenets:
1. Self-awareness – Ability to recognize one’s own emotions and their effects.
2. Self-management – Distress tolerance. Ability to manage emotions effectively.
3. Social Awareness – Perspective. Ability to have empathy and respect for others.
4. Relationship Skills – Ability to establish and maintain healthy communication and relationships.
5. Responsible Decision Making – Identifying, analyzing and solving problems.
The whole school, whole community, whole child model defines working together as our most vital action for creating change. Simply said, the implications of untreated youth mental health conditions have both an economic impact as well as school and family impact.
ASCD’s Whole Child Initiative
1. Stakeholder Impact: 14.5 million untreated young people means there are at least 22 million parents taking care of these young people. Those parents work in companies, buy a company’s products, and live in the communities that companies serve. 1
2. Increased Workplace Absenteeism: When kids can’t go to school, their parents often can’t go to work. The leading cause of absenteeism from work is an ill child, and stress is in the top 10 causes. 2
3. “Presenteeism”: When adults show up for work but are not mentally present, they do not perform at full capacity. This happens often because of family pressures and stress, which is costly for employers. 3
4. Higher Health Care Costs: In 2017, healthcare costs rose by 6.5% for employers, and mental health coverage for employees and families is often financially prohibitive because of costs. 4
5. National Economic Costs: Untreated mental health challenges costs our country $100 billion annually, and only 6.2% of healthcare spending is for mental health. 5
1. “Facts on Children’s Mental Health in America”. NAMI. Retrieved from: www.namihelps.org 2. “The Causes And Costs of Absenteeism In The Workplace”. Forbes. June 2013. Retrieved from: www.forbes.com 3. “Issues In The Workplace That Affect Employee Mental Health: Presenteeism”. Workplace Mental Health Promotion. Retrieved from: wmhp.cmhaontario.ca 4. “Here’s Why You’ll Likely Pay More for Your Employer-Sponsored Health Insurance”. Forbes. July 2016. Retrieved from: http://fortune.com/2016/06/21/health-care-rising-costs/ 5. “Tallying Mental Illness’ Costs”. Time Magazine. May 2008. Retrieved from: content.time.com
Social Emotional Learning and Vocabulary.
At The Youth Mental Health Project, we take a bi-generational approach to teaching social and emotional language.
Infused throughout our work we use Kimochi (KEY.MO.CHEE), which means “feeling” in Japanese.