Why Wellness Must Lead Learning – Holistic Approach

When students get ready for the school day and the overall school year, we generally assume some level of readiness is present.  In the wake of record low mental health and high suicides among teens, however, it is imperative the approach to learning must become holistic, addressing wellness first. 

The Issue

According to Davnee Foundation: Between 20% – 30% of adolescents report symptoms of depression. While depression once was considered an “adult” affliction, the mean age of onset today is 15. Almost 9 percent of high school students have attempted suicide in the past year. Reports are estimated to be highly underreported.

Not to be overlooked is the age of 18.  “The percentage of adults who experienced symptoms of depression was highest among those aged 18–29 (21.0%) per the Center for Disease Control. Though the CDC classifies 18 as adult, this age refers to many high school seniors. 

Pew Research Center reported pre-pandemic anxiety and depression were on the rise among America’s youth.  Whether they personally suffer from these conditions or not, seven-in-ten teens see them as major problems among their peers. Concern about mental health cuts across gender, racial and socio-economic lines. Equal shares of teens across demographic groups say it is a significant issue in their community. At this time, 61% reported getting good grades as the number one stressor.

The Solution

A holistic approach to learning puts wellness first. It includes understanding and supplementing mental, emotional, and physiological factors.  These affect how students process, internalize, relate to and ultimately learn and function. 

So, how do teachers and parents supplement much needed support and reinforcement? Particularly for teens who do not express or show need?  Grades alone are also not an indicator of wellness, learning skills, or ability. 

Chief Wellness Officer and Founder of Holistic Learning Eli Marx-Kahn provides perspective based on his experience in neuroscience. “Holistic Learning helps prepare high school students for college, jobs, and all of the challenges life may throw at them by providing a wide range of services across multiple domains.”

“First, by providing an online tool with six unique wellness learning services, we help high school students thrive in all aspects of their lives,” continues Marx-Kahn.  “We meet students where they are and where they are willing to communicate. They can have as much or as little 1-1 or group interaction as they like.”  

Services include: 
  1. Meditation and Wellness – Important for calming and centering the mind and body. Developing self-regulation skills is a key factor enabling teens to focus, while reducing stress and anxiety.
  2. Learning Strategies – Studying techniques and evidence-based memory consolidation from trained learning strategists.
  3. 1 on 1 Tutoring – Private tutoring in a range of subjects with top tier tutors from prestigious universities around the country.
  4. College & Career Counseling – College and career advice from credentialed counselors, Q&A sessions, and college application workshops.
  5. Career Seminars – Guest speakers from a wide variety of professions to help expose students to the many careers available to them.
  6. Personalized Progress Tracking – Regular 1-on-1 meetings with our learning experts to discuss academic, personal, and professional growth.

According to mental health and addiction teen specialist Dr. Monica Roberts, “Engaging with teens is more important than ever.  They are suffering from isolation, distrust, and lack of healthy, mindful habits.  While cell phone habits contribute to this, a useful online supplement can provide them autonomy, control of pace and healthy habit learning skills.”    

“We must reach teens and students where it resonates,” adds Marx-Kahn.  “Parents and teachers want to do their part as much as possible, but we don’t always feel like we’re getting through.  By putting a holistic twist on the process of learning, we can provide important life skills to teens in an otherwise challenging time. It is difficult to be both a student and positive minded young adult, but it is readily achievable. Our goal is to help every student get there.”

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