The Michigan Department of Education (MDE) with support from the Michigan Health Endowment Fund (the Health Fund), has created a network to broaden and deepen social and emotional learning (SEL) and child mental health practices across the state.
The network will help to increase professional development opportunities for school staff—including school health coordinators, school counselors, school psychologists, educators and administrators—in SEL best practices. SEL is comprised of five competencies: self-awareness, awareness of others, self-management, relationship to others and decision making.
“This work is essential and consistent with the state’s strategic education plan in promoting the health, safety and wellness for all of our children, both physically and socio-emotionally,” Dr. Casandra Ulbrich, State Board of Education president, said in a press release.
The Health Fund has provided MDE with a $500,000 grant to help school districts better embed SEL in classroom instruction and out-of-school time. MDE will partner with 20 districts in these efforts, selected through a competitive application.
“We are building on the important efforts from the last several years and making them into a more cohesive initiative that will affect a broader range of interested schools, school districts, children and staff,” Dr. Michael Rice, state superintendent said.
This is just the latest effort from the Health Fund to support student mental health and SEL during the pandemic and beyond.
As CMF reported in April, the Health Fund provided support to Manistee Area Public Schools for online and teletherapy for students.
Several CMF members have supported the University of Michigan’s Transforming Research into Action to Improve the Lives of Students (TRAILS) program, which provides mental health resources to schools across the state. TRAILS is supported by the Health Fund, the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation, the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, the Children’s Foundation, the Ethel & James Flinn Foundation and The Jewish Fund.
In June, four CMF members—The Ethel & James Flinn Foundation, The Skillman Foundation, the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan and the Health Fund—partnered with the Detroit Wayne Integrated Health Network (DWIHN) to launch the Detroit COVID-19 Therapy Collaborative, a platform providing therapy and behavioral health resources for children and families ages 14 years and older.
“We’ve never experienced this before. We’re facing so much uncertainty, and we shouldn’t have to do it alone,” Andrea Cole, executive director and CEO of the Ethel and James Flinn Foundation said. “This is a trying time for all of us, but especially for young people who may already be struggling with mental health issues.”
Read MDE’s press release on the SEL network.