One reason to celebrate a happy new year

I have spent the last six days repeating “Happy new year!” but the cold-hearted truth is that a frightening number of students in North America will not have a happy new year.

In her January 2nd New York Times article, Vicki Abeles shares some pretty depressing statistics about teen anxiety and what she calls a “nation of unhealthy schools”:

  • Nearly one in three teenagers told the American Psychological Association that stress drove them to sadness or depression — and their single biggest source of stress was school.
  • According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a vast majority of American teenagers get at least two hours less sleep each night than recommended.
  • Only 14% of college professors believe their students are prepared for post-secondary studies.

I must admit that I find this subject increasingly upsetting and have addressed it before.

On a personal level, I worry about my own kids – they say they are happy, but are they? Really? And how do we really know? I can tell you for sure that they are sick of my wanting to talk about stress and how they cope with it. They told me over the holidays (before reading the article, when I asked about stress) that Lakefield has a wellness project that is run by faculty and administration, and a happiness initiative that the students lead (they were most excited by cookie decorating.) My hope is that these strategies work, but I can tell you this: my kids feel well supported by the adults – professional and personal – in their lives. And this matters most.

On a school level, what matters to me is that schools demonstrate awareness and support. The fact is, kids are kids wherever they go to school. We need schools to be all over issues of anxiety and mental health such that all students thrive. When I take a look at our CAIS schools, I am encouraged to see the following:

All this to say, I actually think our CAIS schools are leaders in developing strategies to promote wellness and mindfulness.

And that makes me happy enough to sincerely wish you a happy new year.

One thought on “One reason to celebrate a happy new year

  1. Pingback: Is financial sustainability still the number one challenge facing independent schools? | KeeNote

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