By all accounts, teens and young adults today are experiencing increasing mental health challenges. Rates of anxiety and depression are growing, and the pandemic has only exacerbated these trends. Sadly, suicide is the second leading cause of death in this age group. Virtually all teens are dealing with mental health issues in some way, whether personally or through relationships with their friends and classmates who are directly affected.
Here at OHA we focus on the whole student and recognize that emotional, physical, spiritual, social and intellectual health are all interrelated. We desire to help our students grow in each of these ways, so they are as equipped as possible when they move into the next phase of their lives. Because of that philosophy, and to ensure we are supporting our students in a holistic way, this coming year we will focus much attention on the issue of adolescent mental health with an eye toward ensuring that our practices and approach to student health are informed and effective.
To help us in these efforts, we are excited to announce a new partnership with the Jed Foundation, a non-profit that specializes in the mental health of teens/young adults (https://www.jedfoundation.org/). Their goal is to empower students to “grow into healthy, thriving adults” by focusing on emotional health, substance misuse and suicide prevention. After several years of experience working with college campuses, JED has more recently launched a high school program designed to help schools thoroughly evaluate their mental health support policies and practices. To date, this one-of-a-kind, data driven JED Boarding School Program has partnered with only 5 high schools nationally, and we are pleased to be among them. This fall (2021) we will collect data from staff and students, review it along with our JED partners to identify areas where we can enhance our mental health support, and use that information to map out a comprehensive wellness plan later this school year. We believe that in partnering with JED, the Academy will be better equipped to meet the emotional needs of this current generation of students.