Getting your driver’s license. Calculating the area of the circle. Asking someone to prom. Taking finals. High school has always been tough. But imagine also having to deal with depression, bullying, gang violence, homelessness, drug abuse, trauma, questions about sexual orientation or gender identity, poverty, hunger or domestic violence. Many San Francisco students do.
Student wellness is a cornerstone for learning and educational success. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), after the family, the school is the primary institution responsible for the healthy development of young people in the United States.
- Schools have direct contact with more than 95 percent of our nation’s young people aged 5–17 years, for about 6 hours a day, and for up to 13 critical years of their social, psychological, physical, and intellectual development.
- Schools play an important role in improving students’ health and social outcomes, as well as promoting academic success.
The CDC also notes that the health of young people is strongly linked to their academic success, and conversely, the academic success of youth is strongly linked with their health.
- Health-related factors, such as hunger, chronic illness, or physical and emotional abuse can lead to poor school performance.
- Health-risk behaviors such as substance use, violence, and physical inactivity are consistently linked to academic failure and often affect students’ school attendance, grades, test scores, and ability to pay attention in class.
The San Francisco Wellness Initiative supports students’ physical, mental and emotional health through Wellness Centers, which deliver health services to students where they are most likely to access them – in their schools. With 19 Wellness Centers in high schools throughout San Francisco, we can’t take away the difficulties of high school, but we can empower teens to confront and overcome them.