The COVID-19 pandemic has shed new light on the importance of mental health, especially for young people who experienced unprecedented changes to their learning environments, social connections, physical activities and more — all of which can have a lasting impact on adolescent health and wellness.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “beyond getting sick, many adolescents’ social, emotional and mental well-being has been impacted by the pandemic. Trauma faced at this developmental stage may have long-term consequences across their lifespan.”
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of New Mexico (BCBSNM) understands the importance of supporting kids’ mental health now more than ever. Starting in the 2019-2020 school year, BCBSNM teamed up with education technology company EVERFI to launch a mental health education program for middle and high school students across the state.
The program provides schools with a no-cost digital Mental Wellness Basics course that walks students through an introduction to mental health, healthy coping strategies, and how to get help for themselves and their peers. Since the program started, over 1,300 students at 24 schools have received the education.
After taking Mental Wellness Basics, students reported in course surveys that they have a better understanding of mental wellness topics and how to support their own mental well-being.
“I learned how to cope with my stress and emotional issues,” one student wrote. “The next time I feel like I have a panic attack, I can use some of the coping skills I have learned.”
Students also reported increased confidence in their ability to support others’ mental wellness.
“In case someone I know or who is close to me needs help, I will know what to do,” a student reported.
While New Mexico schools halted in-person learning due to the pandemic, the Mental Wellness Basics digital platform proved to be instrumental in continuing to provide students with mental health education in a remote environment. Since March 15, 2020, over 800 students enrolled in the course across 11 schools, representing over 1,000 hours of learning on Mental Wellness Basics.
During a time of heightened stress and anxiety for youth and adults alike, having access to mental health education and resources is critical for overall health and wellness.
To learn more about Mental Wellness Basics, visit EVERFI. If you are interested in bringing this resource to your New Mexico school, contact Mariana Biagioni of EVERFI at firstname.lastname@example.org.