Meeting Students’ Mental Health Needs During School Closures – Free online resource for all schools (grades 6-12) and families
April 23, 2020 – Students and their families are under tremendous stress to adjust to online education amidst COVID school closures, financial hardship, and looming health concerns. Schools across the country are scrambling to continue coursework online but what about students’ social and emotional needs? How do schools bridge the gap of online learning to help students navigate the social-emotional challenges of social isolation and schooling from home during a pandemic?
Social emotional learning (SEL) educator and trainer, R. Keeth Matheny, was quick to respond to what he knew could be a mental health crisis for many. In the early days of school closures, Matheny started to outline the essential social-emotional supports he knew students would need. First, “Managing Stress Before It Manages You,” then “Navigating Relationships in Tight Quarters.” Matheny’s college-age son, Truman, was home from film school and ready to dive into what is now a 15-part video series dubbed “EQ in your PJs.” Matheny partnered with School-Connect, to produce research-based handouts to accompany each video.
EQ in your PJs is now reaching students and their families nationwide. With more than 30,000 visits to the videos, Matheny is grateful to know his messages are hitting home but remains concerned that thousands more need help.
“In a normal school year, teachers and counselors are interacting daily with students and able to notice indicators of anxiety, depression, or conflict,” Matheny reflects. “Now, many students and families who need help the most are isolated in their homes and not getting the social-emotional support they desperately need. It was obvious and imperative we act quickly to meet those needs.”
“Our new series, ‘Bouncing Back from Challenges,’ is especially meaningful,” Matheny notes. “So many students are experiencing a deep sense of grief these days. Some have lost a family member or teacher, some are missing their sports seasons and school, and all are experiencing serious adjustments and uncertainty. Navigating grief and loss is next-level emotional management and not something most kids can do on their own. They need guidance and support.”
The EQ in your PJs videos and handouts are designed to walk with students through these new challenges, while also helping them better connect with their family, teachers, and community resources.
“I have learned there is almost unanimous support for giving students SEL supports,” said Matheny. “Teachers all over the country share our concerns for the emotional and mental health of students. Everyone wants to help and many just don’t know how.”
Educators and mental health specialists nationwide are raving about the materials. New York-based school psychologist Ken Nosek said, “I appreciate your incredible useful and helpful video lessons! It’s amazing content that is so encouraging and practical for students and adults to use!” Kelly Ice, Reno, NV educator said, “Thank you for all of your hard work and allowing us to continue this important work in SEL from home. These lessons are relevant and important in these challenging times!” Dr. Susan Ruby, Eastern Washington University professor, exclaimed, “I’m thrilled Keeth has gone virtual to meet us where we are: often at home in our pajamas. He is giving us an opportunity to share a common vocabulary and understanding so that SEL may be integrated throughout our lives and will provide a foundation when we return to our schools.”
EQ in your PJs is a free online resource for all schools (grades 6-12) and families. For more info see EQ in your PJs at school-connect.blog/eq-in-your-pjs and/or contact Lisa Zimmerman at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Company Name: School-Connect
Contact Person: Lisa Zimmerman
Country: United States