Adolescence is a time for young people to have a healthy start in life. The number of adolescents reporting poor mental health is increasing. Building strong bonds and connecting to youth can protect their mental health. Schools and parents can create these protective relationships with students and help them grow into healthy adulthood.
What Schools Can Do to Protect Adolescent Mental Health
Schools play an important role in good adolescent mental health. Establishing safe and supportive school environments is an effective way to help youth by connecting adolescents to networks of caring peers and adults. Research shows that students with someone at school who cares about them have better academic performance, health, and behavioral outcomes.
A safe and supportive school environment should:
- Provide ongoing development and training to teachers on how to manage classroom by reinforcing positive behaviors and establishing rules, routines and expectations.
- Support student led-clubs, like gay-straight alliances, so students have a safe space to socialize and connect with supportive school staff.
- Facilitate positive youth development activities, like mentoring programs, volunteer opportunities, and programs that connect them to a network of supportive adults.
- Provide parents and families with resources that support positive parenting practices such as open, honest communication and parental supervision.
What Families and Parents Can Do to Protect Adolescent Mental Health
- Communicate openly and honestly, including about their values.
- Supervise their adolescent to facilitate healthy decision-making.
- Spend time with their adolescent enjoying shared activities.
- Become engaged in school activities and help with homework.
- Volunteer at their adolescent’s school.
- Communicate regularly with teachers and administrators.
For more information on adolescent and school health by the CDC, follow this link.