The student mental health crisis has been declared the “Crisis of Our Time” by the U.S. Surgeon General.

This crisis, exacerbated by the far-reaching effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, has left many students grappling with anxiety and overwhelm. Moreover, they often lack crucial skills to self-regulate and persist through difficulties, directly impacting their ability to focus and succeed academically and beyond. It is clear that schools will only be able to close the achievement gap after first addressing this urgent need.

Recognizing this challenge, Michigan has taken significant strides to address the crisis. Governor Whitmer’s recent budget allocates an additional $361 million to support children’s mental health programs, aiming to create a more supportive environment for students and staff.

While this investment is promising, Michigan school districts understand that lasting change requires effective programs. The missing piece? Resilience. Defined as the ability to bounce back from adversity and adapt to change, resilience is the key to improving student mental health.

However, finding a program that effectively builds resilience without burdening exhausted staff can be overwhelming. Enter EmpowerU—a specialist in teaching students resilience with a brain-based and proven approach that drives tangible results.

Unique Components:

EmpowerU’s program boasts four unique components that fuel student resilience and enhance mental health:

1. Student-Centered

EmpowerU’s resilience programs are student-centered with an instructional design that actively engages students, giving them voice and choice from day one. This approach fosters confidence and motivation, laying the foundation for students to build resilience and make positive and lasting personal change.

2. Goal Oriented

EmpowerU’s programs empower students to choose areas in which they are most motivated to make change and set goals. Using a reflection tool based on the Transtheoretical Model, students set goals, learn strategies for change, and receive support and accountability to meet those goals. Through every step of the program, our instructional design fuels the intrinsic motivation required for students to persist and make goal progress.

3. Application & Reflection Focused

EmpowerU’s neuroscience-based methodology helps students apply resilience concepts from lessons to their goals and challenges. Guided reflection facilitates the practical application of strategies into daily life, with an emphasis on autonomous-supported learning, ensuring the connection between concepts and action is student-initiated and, therefore, enduring.

4. Highly Supported

Building a trusting 1:1 relationship is vital to student transformation and change. Once a student applies the concepts to their goals, EmpowerU provides personalized support from online credentialed coaches. These heart-centered coaches offer robust and highly personalized accountability and encouragement that gives students the courage to take small steps forward each day- turning their goals into action.

Measurable Impact:

Year after year, EmpowerU demonstrates a measurable impact on improving student well-being, persistence, and success – and we attribute those outcomes to our programs’ fidelity to these four key components of resilience. Over ninety percent of students make significant progress toward their goals, and 87% show improvement in focus, attendance, and overall well-being. That’s powerful.

EmpowerU’s science-backed programs supported by coaches deliver the missing piece in building student resilience and improving mental health and success. Now is the time to support struggling students, and EmpowerU stands as a proven solution to this pressing need.

Katie Dorn, MA, LSC, MFT is co-founder of EmpowerU, part of the Catapult Learning family, and an experienced licensed school counselor and therapist. A mother of seven grown children and a successful entrepreneur and author, Dorn is passionate about finding effective ways to help students and families with mental health obstacles.