Supporting High School Students’ Mental Health and Wellbeing with The Jed Foundation

Rachel Butler, Branching Minds

Branching Minds is excited to partner with The Jed Foundation (JED) to bring essential resources to high school classrooms through the Branching Minds Support Library. Informed by direct research with high school students about what they need as they graduate, these new support cards offer concrete tips, tools, and resources on a comprehensive range of topics to help students manage the transition out of high school. Carefully curated and evidence-based, these resources provide teachers and students with accessible and actionable advice to aid in this critical, exciting, and challenging transition. 

All educators understand that this is a critical time to support student mental health, but here are just a few of the statistics that compelled Branching Minds to partner with The Jed Foundation (JED) to provide resources to high school students to help them prioritize their emotional well-being and get the help they need and deserve. 

  • In 2021, more than 40% of high school students said they experienced persistent feelings of sadness and hopelessness. 
  • 22% of high school students reported having serious thoughts of suicide in the past year (CDC, 2022). 
  • 27.6% of college students have a positive suicidal screening (ACHA-NCHA, Spring 2022).
  • Suicide is the second leading cause of death among young people ages 10 to 34.

JED is committed to lowering these numbers. 

Introducing The JED Support Cards

JED has identified areas critical to helping teens and young adults manage their mental health, including:

  • The ability to build healthy and meaningful relationships with others.
  • Understanding and acceptance of those who may be different from themselves.
  • Empathy for others and the ability to think critically about a situation.
  • Being able to communicate their wants and needs, especially in a crisis.
  • Perseverance, willingness to face challenges, and openness to constructive feedback.

Based on these identified skill areas, JED and Branching Minds collaborated to develop interventions geared toward high school students. The resources were designed intentionally for secondary teachers to include opportunities for the students to practice skills in a variety of settings and methods. The interventions are adaptable and enable educators to decide how and when to use the provided resources or elect to leave out or adjust portions in order to meet their students’ needs. 

graphic of JED 5 Supports

It is recommended that teachers work through the JED lessons with the whole class, but they can also be used with smaller groups of students who need additional support. While working in these groups, teachers can provide more explicit instruction, encouragement, specific feedback, positive reinforcement, and careful scaffolding. 

These resources can be further leveraged through the inclusion of school guidance counselors, making use of all possible activities in the cards, and inviting students to explore topics more deeply through JED’s Mental Health Resource Center, which includes a section devoted to managing life transitions. 

It is our hope that these resources will offer much-needed support to your students, foster critical conversations about emotional well-being and life transitions, create community around the shared experience of entering young adulthood, and inspire students to make the choices and find the resources that will best support the future they want.

Get Help Now

If you or someone you know needs to talk to someone right now, text, call, or chat 988 for a free confidential conversation with a trained counselor 24/7. 

You can also contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741-741.

If this is a medical emergency or if there is immediate danger of harm, call 911 and explain that you need support for a mental health crisis.