Special Report

Student Mental Health: Helping a Generation Cope With COVID-19’s Fallout

March 31, 2021
Young adult holding up a lot of stress and pressure.
The pandemic that shuttered the nation’s schoolhouses for, in some cases, more than a year has touched the social and emotional well-being of students in ways we may not truly understand for a generation. Even now, as more and more students are beginning to return to school physically, there is no guarantee that all is well in their lives. And without traditional school supports—like the ability to look a child in the eye in person to ask how he or she is doing—identifying and helping students traumatized by the pandemic became much harder, if not impossible.

To gauge COVID-19's impact on the mental-health needs of students, the EdWeek Research Center surveyed students and educators in grades 9 through 12 on both the supports and challenges posed by the pandemic. More broadly, Education Week reporters examined how the pandemic is likely to affect student mental-health in the long term; how counselors and mental-health professionals are using technology to connect with students in new and unique ways; and the additional challenges the pandemic poses for especially vulnerable groups of students, including students of color and those in the LGBTQ community.

Separately, Education Week Opinion turned to students and educators to help us understand what’s at stake for young people’s mental and emotional well-being. We hope you’ll share your thoughts on what they have to say, as well as your experiences during this pandemic year by using #K12MentalHealth.

—The Editors
A person slumped over on their bed.
yokunen/iStock/Getty<br/>
Young adult holding up a lot of stress and pressure.
yokunen/iStock/Getty
A student and counselor communicate through screens
yokunen/iStock/Getty
An isolated young person is troubled
yokunen/iStock/Getty
An illustration of a student sitting on the floor of a room.
yokunen/iStock/Getty
Teacher and student a world apart
Mary Haasdyk for Education Week
Student Well-Being Opinion 'It Is OK to Grieve': A Teacher Reflects on This Pandemic Year
Claire Marie Grogan, March 31, 2021
3 min read
Student's on screen picture in contrast to real life isolation
Mary Haasdyk for Education Week
Student Well-Being Opinion What We Know About Suicide During the Pandemic (and What We Don't)
Marisa E. Marraccini, March 31, 2021
4 min read
Students at their desks in a blooming classroom
Mary Haasdyk for Education Week
Student Well-Being Opinion Students Need Emotional Support When Returning to School in Person. Here's How
Phyllis L. Fagell, March 31, 2021
4 min read
A student walks across a sunrise to a new beginning
Mary Haasdyk for Education Week
Student Well-Being Opinion How Can Students and Educators Make Sense of a Year of Loss?
Roger Brooks, March 31, 2021
5 min read
Silhouette of group of students with data overlay.
iStock/Getty Images Plus
Student Well-Being Opinion What Life Was Like for Students in the Pandemic Year
March 31, 2021
7 min read

News and data coverage in this package about whole-child approaches to learning is supported in part by a grant from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, at www.chanzuckerberg.com.

Coverage of social and emotional learning for this opinion project is supported in part by a grant from the NoVo Foundation, at www.novofoundation.org.

Education Week retains sole editorial control over the content of this coverage.