Three methods to use technology to improve student mental health 2023


Researchers have long suspected that teens’ increased use of technology and social media worsens mental health. It can help schools combat an unparalleled mental health epidemic.

Students face new mental health issues in addition to hardship, in-process coping, drug use, and others. A global epidemic and disturbingly frequent school and community violence create a perfect storm for a mental health disaster.

The kids are sick.

85 percent of over 350 school social workers, teachers, counselors, administrators, and district officials surveyed agree or strongly agree that children are more worried and nervous than in past years.

This is devastating. “Students are struggling in ways I have not seen in my 20+ years as a school social worker,” one school social worker remarked in response to the study. “Anxiety and stress affect academics, attendance, social skills, adult and peer interactions, and friendships.”

Eighty-nine percent of survey respondents agreed or strongly agreed that stress and anxiety negatively impact academic outcomes, providing context for the National Assessment of Educational Progress’s falling math and reading scores.

Simply said, academic success requires broad support. Thus, technology becomes a solution rather than a problem.

Technology can improve student mental health in three ways.

Connect vitally

Teachers, coaches, and counselors frequently spot mental health issues first. This is great since struggling pupils generally trust trustworthy adults.

70% of poll respondents agree or strongly agree that adolescents are willing to seek trusted adults for guidance. Students’ openness is only a benefit if staff can safely use it to link them with resources.

Unfortunately, 85% of respondents agree or strongly agree that they wish they had more resources to support students with mental health issues.

Many schools use improvisational and relational strategies to connect. Teachers and coaches have reported communicating student needs to counselors, administrators, and other support personnel via hallway talks, shared papers, or email.

Collaborative case management systems help schools address important concerns. Advanced digital documentation and integrated case management systems allow staff to instantly link children with vital help.

Expand key services

70% of public schools report more pupils requesting mental health care since 2021. Alarmingly, 56% of public schools “moderately or strongly agreed that they could effectively provide mental health services to all students in need,” according to the National Center for Education Statistics.

Many schools lack social workers and guidance counselors. “Many school mental health professionals have caseloads that far exceed recommended limits, according to experts and advocates, and students must wait for urgently needed help,” PBS reported earlier this year.

Digital tools can help schools meet the growing need for mental health services.

Online platforms may connect students with mental health specialists for counseling, self-guided therapies, and resources.

Forbes provided a list of the top online counseling tools for adolescents, and since many kids are comfortable conversing online, these digital resources may assist ensure that every student gets the treatments they need.

Train students and staff

Schools may use a variety of online platforms, tools, and multimedia material to educate staff and students about mental health issues and solutions. E-learning modules, webinars, and virtual seminars can help employees spot mental health warning signals and implement successful interventions.

Interactive online courses including videos, quizzes, and case studies may teach students and instructors resilience, coping, and self-care.

Finally, schools use social media campaigns and digital storytelling to destigmatize mental health issues and encourage help-seeking. Schools may create and curate high-quality, evidence-based digital material for their requirements by working with mental health specialists.

We must.

Student mental health is clearly in crisis. As educators, we must support their well-being.

Technology can help improve mental health, despite its reputation for worsening it. Technology cannot cure the problem, but it can help schools support children.

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