Student Mental Health and Well-Being: A review of evidence and emerging solutions
28 February 2023
This report is part of a series that aims to definitively assess the best available evidence on how the Covid-19 pandemic and its aftermath has affected America’s students. Since 2021, the Center on Reinventing Public Education (CRPE) has compiled hundreds of studies and convened panels of experts to interpret what the data show in three key pandemic-related areas. Those include the pandemic’s effects on students’ academic progress and emotional well-being, and the specific impact on students with disabilities. We will update these assessments and potentially add more topics as new data become available. Schools in the U.S. opened in the fall of 2022 looking more “normal” than they had since the Covid-19 pandemic started. However, many young people still suffer from the repercussions of the pandemic. Much of the national debate regarding school supports has focused on troubling student achievement trends. But recovery efforts cannot be limited to mathematics and reading achievement. The closure of school buildings, combined with pandemic-induced health, economic, family, social, and political challenges, created significant threats to the mental health and well-being of young people, as well as the adults who educate them. The pandemic led to missed opportunities for students to develop their social and emotional competencies, and it had clear, negative impacts on the mental health of many young people. The 2022 panelists included: David Adams, chief executive officer at the Urban Assembly; Catherine Bradshaw, professor at the Curry School of Education at the University of Virginia; Robert Jagers, vice president of research at the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL); and Velma McBride Murry, professor at the Peabody College and the School of Medicine at Vanderbilt University. The panelists arrived at three calls to action that reflect the challenges and opportunities young people are facing. Specifically, they called for policymakers and advocates to: 1. Embrace technological innovations that can improve student well-being while still honoring the fundamental need for human relationships. 2. Overcome turf wars and divisions; embrace “big tent” thinking for social and emotional development and well-being support. 3. Build new, integrated monitoring and response systems to address the urgent needs of young people.