Feeling safe is important. After meeting basic needs for survival like food, water, and sleep, feeling safe and secure is necessary before anyone can focus on relationships, learning or other opportunities for personal success.
A lot of kids and teens haven’t been able to feel safe or stable over the last year because of the trauma caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and the ways it has disrupted “normal” life. Some have been stuck at home in abusive environments (and may not even know that their environments are abusive), while others are dealing with the fear of themselves or their loved ones becoming sick, or financial hardships being faced by their families. The potential for being physically back in school for the 2021-2022 school year may help some students feel more secure, but for others it may bring back fears of bullying, school shootings or unfair disciplinary action.
MHA’s 2021 Back to School toolkit, “Facing Fears, Supporting Students,” aims to help students, parents, and school personnel recognize how feeling unsafe can impact mental health and school performance, and what can be done to help young people who are struggling with their mental health.