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US schools launch therapy-based programs for emotionally overwhelmed students

The students of Michigan’s Van Buren Intermediate School District, in the United States, like those in so many other cities and towns throughout the world, have been through a lot in the last few years.

A persistent pandemic that has left several families jobless and homeless, disrupting classrooms and sickening friends and their loved ones. Since in-person school resumed full-time this autumn, three students have attempted suicide in the Michigan district alone. A deadly shooting occurred at a district school just a few days back.

This year, an inflow of federal COVID relief money and state cash has enabled the state to provide extra emotional aids for every child in the district’s 11 schools. The local school administrators believe that children cannot excel academically if they are emotionally distressed.

The district has launched an instructional programme based on a major component of modern psychology — cognitive behaviour therapy — in a school year that was intended to represent a return to normal. The district’s full embrace of social and emotional learning includes principles from this system, which are entrenched in the curriculum.

Every grade level teaches students how thoughts, feelings and behaviours are intertwined, and how learning to manage and reframe thoughts can lead to more positive results.

The programme includes more intensive classes for children who are suffering from anxiety, depression or trauma, as well as suicide prevention sessions. The topics are taught to all district workers.


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