Evidence Based Mental Health Interventions for K-12

I’ve spent the last few weeks neck deep in research on EBI’s (Evidence Based Interventions) for 9th-11th graders in urban schools, like DPS. Specifically, I am looking for programs that teach, or can enhance, social and emotional learning for at risk populations within these districts. Programs with focus on – emotion regulation, conflict resolution, cultivation of character strengthening emotions like empathy, compassion and gratitude. Over ALL I am in search of a program that centers on DBT (Dialectical Behavioral Therapy) and the integration of mindfulness practices into the classroom and campus environments. The DBT part is not an official part of my task, but I believe wholeheartedly in the DBT model and love teaching mindfulness to students.

So for anything Social and Emotional Learning adjacent, I always turn to CASEL (Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning) they’re the know it all and share it all organization for social and emotional competencies for students. I naturally started by search on their website (I’ll save us some time here and skip ahead through the hours of key word searches, Facebook distractions, Amazon book purchases on the subject...) ultimately finding Learn 2 Breathe by Dr. Patricia Broderick, PH.D. She coolly abbreviates this mindfulness based program to L2B. L2B was what I was looking for, all the puzzle pieces were there – mindfulness foundation, focus on strengthening attention to the present and regulating emotions. Yes! So…cost.

I couldn’t find information on the website about the cost for the curriculum or if the curriculum is even available for purchase by a school or district. But it appears that Dr. Broderick delivers trainings herself and these trainings can be delivered to groups of teachers and/or clinicians. In my experience, if THE trainer is coming to you to deliver a set of specialized skills...it’s going to be pricey. As with most resources I find, it causes a thought in my mind, and the thought is about you, New Detroit Teacher… What resources, similar to L2B are available for campuses and districts that cannot afford the expense of a training day?

Programs like L2B that teach children to better understand and manage their emotions, connect with the community, create and maintain positive peer/adult relationships and achieve personal goals are imperative to the proper development of your students, New Detroit Teacher. And the best way to deliver these skill sets is in your classroom, or at least on your campus through targeted instruction – by YOU (not an outside/district trainer). CASEL has identified five inter-related skill sets that our Detroit kiddo’s need to ensure a bright future; self-management, self-awareness, responsible decision making, relationship skills and social awareness. Where do you find resources to help encourage growth in these areas? Does your campus put an emphasis on these skills? Acknowledge that they are important? …know that the inclusion of these skills is missing from the majority of K-12 classrooms?

I will keep looking and of course post an update. This far I have found the following text resources - that is they are curriculum's for schools to purchase and deliver to their students. I have not personally used either program, so I am very interested in your feedback, New Detroit Teacher, and also your suggestions.

Resilience Builder Program for Children and Adolescents: Enhancing Social Competence and Self-Regulation by Dr. Mary Karapetian Alvord.  Curriculum available on Amazon for around $50.00

The Zones of Regulation: A Curriculum Designed to Foster Self-Regulation and Emotional Control by Leah M. Kuypers, MA, OTR/L. Available on their website for around $50.00