The Problem

The COVID-19 pandemic has worsened long-standing mental health challenges for students and staff alike, while highlighting the inequity in resources to deal with those problems.

  • From 2019 – 87% increase in students seeking mental health services
  • Nearly half of the schools surveyed do not have the staff needed to meet students’ mental health needs
  • Only 14 percent met the ratio of one school counselor to 250 students recommended by the American School Counselor Association.
  • School staff are referring students to outside therapists, only to have parents come back and say they can’t get their child in anywhere
  • Teachers are not trained to deal with their students’ mental health needs
  • Recovery will be a years-long process and school leaders will need to find innovative solutions
  • SEL can and should help address these needs, but are they properly equipped to do so?

EdWeek Research Center – February 2022

It only makes sense that SEL should be able to help address the mental health needs of both Staff and students, after all SEL is emotional intelligence and emotional intelligence is the ability to manage emotions in stressful situations.

There are many claims about how certain SEL solutions can address the needs of staff and student mental health. While on the surface this looks promising, a quick search on the research and development side shows that these claims fall short. For an SEL solution to meet the mental health needs of staff and students, it must be researched, developed and normed for that purpose. It is difficult to see how their claims can be validated when their SEL solutions were not developed for mental health in the first place.

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The Solution

Two consulting psychologists, Dr. Darwin Nelson and Dr. Gary Low of Texas A & M, began their research on our Personal Skills Map® in the 1970s. The Personal Skills Map is the principal assessment in Conover’s Success Profiler® – Emotional Intelligence program. This ongoing research has continued for over 40 years and has generated 170 plus master and doctoral level research papers and dissertations on the effectiveness of the Personal Skills Map assessment in developing a healthy personality.

The authors have been most influenced by the trends of thought and practice labeled human potential, humanistic psychology, and a holistic view of the person, emphasizing strength, potential, and a growth philosophy of personal change and creative living. In this philosophy, persons are viewed as possessing all the creative resources necessary for living a “healthy” and “creative” life.

In the conceptualization and development of the Personal Skills Map, the authors drew heavily on:

  1. The theories and research of Rogers, Maslow, and Jourard in the areas of self-concept development, growth motivation, and healthy personality.
  2. Fensterheim, Jakubowski and Lange, Berne, Satir, Perls, Bandler and Grinder, Mahoney, Michenbaum, Ellis, Maltusby, and Truax and Carkhuff in the areas of communication skills, cognitive behavior modification, and the structure of change.
  3. Lazarus, Benson, Friedman and Rosenman, Pelletier, and others in the areas of stress and anxiety management.

The authors’ main purpose was to construct a positive assessment instrument that would result in a self- description for the person that identified personal strengths as well as areas of needed change for personal growth and creative living.

The Research and Validation

An important test of the validity of the Personal Skills Map was to determine whether or not the instrument could effectively differentiate individuals functioning at healthy, normal, and below-average personal skill levels in their daily lives. As a beginning step in the validation of the Personal Skills Map, the instrument was administered to three carefully selected research groups.

The first research group was comprised of skilled professional helpers in the behavioral sciences. Doctoral and masters level professionals working as psychologists, social psychotherapists, human development educators, marriage and family counselors, and college counselors were included in this research group.

A second research group was randomly selected from the normal population used in the standardization of the Personal Skills Map and was selected to provide an average or expected level of personal skill development as measured by the Personal Skills Map.

A third research group was comprised of youth and adults voluntarily seeking counseling and psychotherapy services from out-patient treatment facilities. All persons in this research group completed the Personal Skills Map during the first week of therapy, and all of them were seeking professional assistance with personal problems. This group was included in the research to represent a below average level of personal skill development and was designated as an in-therapy population.

The Personal Skills Map was designed to measure key dimensions and skills related to mental health and personal effectiveness. Skill areas as defined by the Personal Skills Map scales correlate with factors and concepts purportedly measured by standard personality inventories. Scale by scale correlations for the Personal Skills Map and the (1) Personal Orientation Inventory (Shostrom, 1962), (2) Edwards Personal Preference Schedule (Edwards, 1953), (3) Sixteen Personality Factor Questionnaire (Cattell, 1956), and (4) Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (Hathaway and McKinley, 1943) were completed to establish initial concurrent validity.

This was the beginning of our research and development of our Personal Skills Map in the field of mental health.

As you can see it was thoroughly researched and intended as a tool to assist in the development of a healthy personality for both youth and adults.

Summary

While our SEL suite of tools is no replacement for a trained mental health professional, it does arm untrained staff with professional tools that were developed to specifically address the mental health of both staff and students. Our self-directed and instructor-led online assessments and skill building systems can provide anytime, anywhere and on any device help where it is needed the most—up front and in a timely manner. With the mental health crisis we are currently facing, it only makes sense to choose SEL tools that were specifically developed to help create a healthy personality.

Contact us today for a copy of our research document. See for yourself how we can help you to address current mental health concerns for both staff and students.

Want more information?

Here is a link to our Seven SEL Tools for Developing a Healthy Personality:
https://www.conovercompany.com/downloads/sel-4page.pdf

Here is a link to my webinar calendar if you would like to schedule a time to talk:
https://conovercompany.pipedrive.com/scheduler/vXyx4WcYX/product-demo