Social and Emotional Wellbeing
Social and emotional wellbeing is an important aspect of adolescent health. Strong social and emotional skills can help adolescents to persist through challenges, identify and manage emotions, and communicate effectively.
Why social and emotional learning is important
- Social and emotional learning has been associated with:
- Improved academic achievement and school behavior
- Improved ability to manage stress and depression
- Better attitudes about themselves, others, and school
- Social and emotional learning has also been associated with decreases in:
- Drop-out rates
- Substance use
- Teen pregnancy
- Mental health problems
- Criminalized behavior1
The state of social and emotional wellbeing for adolescents
- Adolescence is a time of exploration and new experiences. Supporting adolescent’s social and emotional skills can better prepare them for this time, and for their future.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s “Youth Risk Behavior Survey, Data Summary & Trends Report” highlights social and emotional learning programs as one way to improve school connectedness and increase protective factors for youth.3
- Some groups of teens, including youth with disabilities, are at a higher risk of experiencing some of these negative health outcomes than other teens.2
- Intentional social and emotional learning is one way to support all teens, including teens with disabilities.
- 1opens in a new tabhttps://extension.umn.edu/youth-learning-and-skills/social-and-emotional-learning-sel#sources-2363810
- 2Blum, R.W., Kelly, A., Ireland, M., Blum, R.W., Kelly, A., & Ireland, M. (2001, June). Health-risk behaviors and protective factors among adolescents with mobility impairments and learning and emotional disabilities.Journal of Adolescent Health, 28(6), 481-290. opens in a new tabhttps://doi.org/10.1016/S1054-139X(01)00201-4
- 3Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Youth Risk Behavior Survey: Data Summary & Trends Report, 2011- 2021. opens in a new tab://www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/data/yrbs/yrbs_data_summary_and_trends.htm Published April 27, 2023. Accessed May 8, 2023.
How we are addressing the need
The Utah Department of Health and Human Services receives one grant through Utah State University’s Institute for Disability Research, Policy and Practice to address social and emotional wellbeing.
The Interagency Outreach Training Initiative focuses on providing training to caregivers and service providers to build social and emotional skills with young people with disabilities. Youth with disabilities are considered an at risk group that need a higher level of support to be able to succeed as healthy teens. To improve multiple risks that these young people face, training is needed to increase protective factors and improve health.
The Social and Emotional Learning training developed by the Adolescent Health Program utilizes activities from the University of Minnesota’s resource, “opens in a new tabSocial and Emotional Learning in Practice: A Toolkit of Practical Strategies and Resources”. While the activities in the toolkit are universally beneficial for youth, the training will allow for group discussion to address the needs of diverse learners.