In October, state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond announced Angst: Building Resilience, a film-based youth mental health support program available in Spanish and English at no cost to all public and charter middle and high schools in California through June 30, 2022.
The 75-minute program includes a 43-minute film that highlights the pervasive anxiety among our children and youth, discussion guides, classroom activities, and homework assignments to foster discussion with parents and caregivers.
“With [students’] mental health needs at an all-time high, our goal is for California schools to have robust and historic levels of mental health programming to provide critical support to students and families,” said Thurmond in announcing the initiative. “Angst and its accompanying easy-to-use curriculum will help elevate the voices of students who are living with emotional distress so they will feel heard, validated and supported.”
“This will help elevate the voices of students who are living with emotional distress so they will feel heard, validated and supported.”
—Tony Thurmond, state superintendent of public instruction
The COVID-19 pandemic has presented many challenges to students, educators and parents. Children already coping with mental health conditions have been especially vulnerable to the changes. Experts are now examining the broad impacts on students as a result of school closures, physical distancing guidelines and isolation, among other changes to their lives.
The goal of Angst, a partnership of the California Department of Education (CDE), iNDIEFLIX Education, the Department of Health Care Services’ CalHOPE program, and Blue Shield of California’s BlueSky initiative, is to raise awareness, connect students with support, and provide hope and coping strategies. The program offers resources and exercises to help youth build resilience and emotional well-being, and equips educators with tools to support students.
For details, including how to view Angst and bring a screening to your school, go to indieflix.com/california.
Report: SEL as Important as Academics
With the pandemic, the role of school counselors in identifying and addressing students’ social and emotional needs has become even more critical. A new survey, “School Counselors’ Perspectives on the Social and Emotional Development of Students” finds a growing consensus among educators and administrators that K–12 students’ social-emotional skill development may be nearly as important as cognitive ability for education and workplace success. The report, from ACT and the American School Counselor Association (ASCA), was released in November.
The findings are no surprise to high school counselor Josh Godinez, president of the California Association of School Counselors and Corona Norco Teachers Association member.
“Social emotional learning goes hand in hand with academic success,” he says. “Anxiety, stress, depression and other challenges have always been there and the more that we incorporate SEL strategies and normalize conversations around how to overcome them within our classrooms and our schools, the more we empower students with strategies of success for life.”