Student Wellness

Student Mental Health and Wellness is not merely academic alone. Students require aid in other parts of their lives as well. If a student is facing losing their home to a wildfire, they (understandably) won't be focused on their schoolwork. We've pulled a few resources together to assist school counselors in helping their students' all-around wellness. Please see the current 'State of Student Wellness' below as well as the links at left.

This report examines student wellness and access to school-based mental health support throughout multiple years of the pandemic. Student mental health is highly connected to student success and well-being. Findings from the surveys indicate students are experiencing a host of mental health issues, including but not limited to an increase in social anxiety, panic attacks, depressive symptoms, body image issues, self-harm, and suicidal ideation. California students were already among the most underserved in the country in terms of school-based mental health. This underprepared students and the public educational system to respond to the pandemic.

Statewide surveys were administered to students in April 2020 and March 2021. The surveys were completed by over 1,200 California students, from 45 school districts in over 20 counties, and reveal that the emergency has evolved into a crisis during the pandemic. Access to school-based mental health is a civil rights issue for students and parents. All California students at every level deserve mental health professionals who can address students’ unmet needs, increase career and college access, and provide academic support. This report utilizes both quantitative and qualitative analysis methods to uplift student voices regarding an unprecedented crisis. It also details student advocacy related to this data that resulted in letters to state officials, testimony in the California Legislature, a petition with thousands of signatures, and more documented in this PBS article.

Everyone, but especially policymakers, should find it troubling that 63 percent of students reported an emotional meltdown, 43 percent of students reported a panic or anxiety attack, 22 percent of students reported three or more days where they could not participate in school because of mental health, and 19 percent of students reported suicidal thoughts. Despite the federal and state governments’ unprecedented investment in school-based mental health and reported investment by schools over the past two years, only 17 percent of students reported increased access to mental health services in 2021 while the overwhelming majority (83 percent) did not experience a change. Over half of students reported the need for mental health services in both survey years, with over 22 percent of students desiring services for the first time each year. Roughly one-fifth of students (22 percent) felt they might be traumatized and would not be the same because of the pandemic and 45 percent of students reported feeling depressed. These findings suggest that our students need either a continued investment with the expansion of services to address wellness and socialemotional support or better implementation of the available funds.

State of Student Wellness 2021 Fact Sheet: Student mental health is highly connected to student success and well-being. California students were already the most underserved in the country in terms of school-based mental health. Our wellness surveys completed by over 1,200 students throughout the pandemic reveal the emergency has evolved into a crisis. This fact sheet shares some of the findings from our upcoming report. Students from over 50 school districts and 25 counties across California completed the two surveys administered in April 2020 and April 2021.