How You Can Help
This book gives the background knowledge, psychological theories, and scientific explanations that have informed the workbook Helping Students Do Better Within a Broken System. Beyond giving students an opportunity to fill out the workbook, what else can you do to help? Well, as we discussed in the section on self-determination theory, social support is a necessary facet of motivation. You can help to fulfill the student’s need for social support, whether in personal or academic ways, or both. You can be there for the student as they practice the workbook, whether you help them fill it out or talk with them about anything they might want to share about it. Simple encouragement and validation from authority figures can go a long way.
While this book and the workbook do not specifically address clinical problems and solutions, be aware that Gen Z is indeed disproportionately affected by the mental health crisis. You can help by being there to listen, support, and direct students to the appropriate resources such as the school counselor, a clinical psychologist, a social worker, or a crisis line. Whatever you do, if you suspect someone is in crisis or in need of further support, do not hesitate to ask them how you can help and get them connected to the appropriate resources. Doing so could help them tremendously, and also lets them know that you care and are there for them.
After reading this book, your role is to give students the encouragement and support they need, and spread the word about what you have learned. As stated at the very beginning of the book, while it is usually not in our power to make significant changes in the wider school system, it is in our power to help and support struggling students, and understand what they are going through. We can all find ways within our power to help make a positive difference for someone.