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Resources to Support Mental Health and Learning During School Reopening

A roundup of free resources from the UCLA Center for Mental Health to assist school districts with plans to address equity and support student and staff mental health.
A male school counselor chats with a young male student
Published: 06/29/2020

The personal loss and trauma that many have experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic and the increasing demand to correct social injustices ensure there will be a growing number of mental health concerns at schools along with more learning and behavior problems. The UCLA Center for Mental Health in Schools & Student/Learning Supports provides free resources for leaders and practitioners to assist school districts to improve student and staff outcomes. During times of crisis, the Center for Mental Health suggests that the real need is to focus on ensuring schools have an effective system of student/learning supports. The following resources provide a brief look at what the Center for Mental Health offers:

The Two Pandemics Call for Commitment to Embedding Mental Health Concerns in All Forms of Schooling 
This call to action explores how the effects of COVID-19 on increasing numbers of learning, behavior, and emotional problems can open policymakers up to transforming how schools address student and staff well-being. The piece concludes that the pandemic has brought society to a turning point in which educators and leaders must reconsider and restructure how schools work with families and communities to address the problems and well-being of children and youth. Specifically, schools must transform how they work to prevent and ameliorate the many problems experienced by too many students.

Establishing a Comprehensive System of Learning Supports at a School: Seven Steps for Principals and Their Staff
Focused on helping school administrators, this resource provides an outline of first steps for developing a unified, comprehensive, and equitable system of student and learning supports that can be integrated into school improvement policy and practice. Additionally, this document includes links to free resource aids and tools.

Plan Ahead to Support the Transition-back of Students, Families, and Staff
Once we reopen, the transition back to school may pose challenges to students, families, and staff. This resource highlights essential supports to help ease reentry into schools. These supports include introductory and welcoming strategies, accommodations for special populations, and planning for social, emotional, and academic needs.

Schools Helping Students Deal with Loss and Grief and Loss
Although not directly discussing COVID-19, these resource highlight the essential role that schools play in helping students cope with loss and grief. Specifically, these documents address how schools can build resilience, facilitate social ties, identify stages of grieving, and help students return to school after loss.

About Resilience and Schools
Resilience encompasses constructive coping and successful developmental outcomes when faced with adverse conditions. This resource focuses on the important role schools have in helping students enhance resiliency by providing supports that promote well-being, prevent problems, and create an effective system of interventions.

Promoting Staff Well‑being and Preventing Burnout as Schools Re‑Open
Teaching is stressful. Teaching in a time of loss or a pandemic can enhance that stress. To ensure that educators and staff are effective in helping students cope with these difficult times, it is necessary that schools do not overlook the psychological needs of those educators and staff members. This resource discusses several strategies—social and classroom supports, personalized staff development, and shared governance—to promote staff well-being and prevent burnout.

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