Giving Compass' Take:

• The Hechinger Report writes that allowing kids and students to share their experiences with one another and harness a supportive environment will improve emotional and mental health in schools.

• How can donors fund programs and organizations that aim to improve mental health and well-being? How can we teach our kids to express themselves in a healthy way?

Here's how social engagement and brain health are linked and influence each other. 

TAOS, N.M. — Standing in front of 240 freshmen and 80 fellow seniors in her school’s gymnasium, a slight 17-year-old with her hair in pigtail braids took a long shuddering breath.

Her audience was still. The girl had just revealed that she’d spent most of her middle-school years feeling suicidal, had been hospitalized for her own protection and spent two years in therapy before finally telling her mother the cause of her deep depression and thoughts of self harm: She’d been raped by a man she knew.

It’s a culture shift to recognize that humans are emotional beings and emotions can be harnessed and channeled to improve academic performance and improve relationships and improve decision making.

After two beats that felt like an eternity, the room exploded into supportive applause. The girl’s face crumpled as friends rushed to her side. With the buoying effect of the hugs from her friends and all the cheering, she regained her composure.

Read the full article about improving mental and emotional health in schools by Lillian Mongeau at The Hechinger Report