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Our High School Kids: Tired, Stressed and Bored, Bullied Teens Face Roadblocks to Mental Health Serv

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Welcome back to In Case You Missed It (our weekly roundup of articles touching on psychology, health, mental health and social justice issues from multiple news and commentary websites). This week, we address the impact of our high school kids: tired, stressed and bored, bullied teens face roadblocks to mental health services, why what you learned in preschool is crucial at work and more.

New survey findings suggest that U.S. high school students consistently invoke three key feelings: “tired,” “stressed” and “bored” [deleted period] during the school day. Marc Brackett, a researcher in the Yale University Department of Psychology and director of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, warns that such negative feelings can influence young people’s attention, memory, decision making, school performance and social lives. The survey asked students this online question: “How do you currently feel in school?” Eight of the top 10 responses were negative; 39% of students wrote “tired,” 29% said “stressed” and 26% said “bored.”

Nearly one-third of American teens are bullied, according to a new study, but fewer than a quarter of them get mental health help. Dr. Amira El Sherif, a pediatrician in Fayettville [check spelling], NC notes victims of bullying are at risk for problems such as anxiety, depression and self-harm. Researchers highlight numerous obstacles within schools, including inaction by educators, poor enforcement of investigation procedures, and inadequate follow-up and poor communication with parents. The study also pinpointed 28 barriers that prevent bullied students from accessing mental health services, including lack of adequate screening and counseling by health providers.

There are more than 61 million “left-behind” kids in the poorest parts of China. One or both parents have moved to toil in factories, hoping to make enough money to pull the family out of poverty and into a better life. New study in China, looking at the so-called left behind children, finds that while these children face serious problems, they are not doomed to a dark future. But the lesson applies to any child living in less than ideal circumstances. Daphna Oyserman, a psychologist at the University of Southern California, found that the children needed to have not only a positive outlook on their future but also a plan to become what the study calls their “ideal selves.” In simpler terms, that means setting goals and figuring out how to reach them.

Skills like cooperation, empathy and flexibility have become increasingly vital in modern day work. And the only occupations that have shown consistent wage growth since 2000 require both cognitive and social skills. Yet to prepare students for the change in the way we work, the skills that schools teach may need to change. These conclusions do not mean traditional education has become unnecessary, researchers say.  In fact, traditional school subjects are probably more necessary than ever to compete in the labor market. David Deming, associate professor of education and economics at Harvard University, notes the new middle-skill jobs combine technical and interpersonal expertise, like physical therapy or general contracting.

What do you think of these stories? What did we leave out?

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