Branching Minds is excited to partner with The Jed Foundation (JED) to bring essential resources to high school classrooms through the Branching Minds Support Library. Informed by direct research with high school students about what they need as they graduate, these new support cards offer concrete tips, tools, and resources on a comprehensive range of topics geared toward helping students manage the transition out of high school. Carefully curated and evidence-based, these resources provide teachers and students with accessible and actionable advice to aid in this critical — and often difficult — transition.
What Is the JED Foundation?
JED is a nonprofit that protects emotional health and prevents suicide for our nation’s teens and young adults. They partner with high schools and colleges to strengthen mental health, substance misuse, and suicide prevention programs and systems. They equip teens and young adults with the skills and knowledge they need to help themselves and each other. They encourage community awareness, understanding, and action for young adult mental health.
All educators understand that this is a critical time to support student mental health, but here are just a few of the statistics that compelled Branching Minds to partner with The Jed Foundation (JED) to provide resources to high school students to help them prioritize their emotional well-being and get the help they need and deserve:
In 2021, more than 40% of high school students said they experienced persistent feelings of sadness and hopelessness.
22% of high school students reported having serious thoughts of suicide in the past year. (CDC, 2022)
Suicide is the second leading cause of death among young people ages 10 to 34.
JED is committed to lowering these numbers. Learn more and access resources at jedfoundation.org.
Introducing - The JED Support Cards!
Through their work, JED has identified areas that stand out as extremely important in helping teens and young adults manage their mental health. Among these are:
The ability to build healthy and meaningful relationships with others
Understanding and acceptance of those who may be different from themselves
Empathy for others and the ability to think critically about a situation
Being able to communicate their wants and needs — especially in a crisis
Perseverance, willingness to face challenges, and openness to constructive feedback
Based on these identified skill areas, JED and Branching Minds collaborated to develop interventions geared toward high school students. These resources were designed intentionally for secondary teachers to include opportunities for the students to practice skills in a variety of settings and methods. The interventions can also be utilized carte blanche — teachers can decide how and when they want to use the provided resources and/or elect to leave out or adjust portions in order to meet the needs of their students.
How Do the JED Lessons Fit Into MTSS?
It is recommended that teachers work through the JED lessons with the whole class (Tier 1). Teachers can then meet with a small group of students, identified as being Tier 2, to provide further support. This would typically be a group of 3-5 students and should meet for an additional 60-90 minutes outside of the core instruction each week (for example, this could be two or three 30-minute intervention periods). While working in these groups, teachers can provide more explicit instruction, encouragement, specific feedback, positive reinforcement, and careful scaffolding.
Some suggestions for further supporting Tier 2 groups:
Ask the school guidance counselor to speak with a Tier 2 group to reinforce the skills you are teaching in the classroom or to provide direct instruction on the transitional skills
Use the extra resources and activities described in the support cards to provide more examples and exposure to the topic
Highlight the Resource Center provided on JED’s website so that students can be aware of what is available and have more options for accessing high-quality resources.
The JED lessons and activities will be a valuable resource for high school students. When used in a classroom, they will provide opportunities for teachers and students to have meaningful conversations about the transition from high school and chances for students to practice the skills. It is our hope that these resources will be invaluable for your students and will help them to feel more equipped to handle the challenges of young adulthood.
💛 Support Your Students' Well-being 💛 Empower your staff with the necessary tools to efficiently find and implement the right MTSS interventions, enhancing your students' outcomes.
Rachel Butler is the Content Specialist for Branching Minds. Rachel is a former Chicago Public Schools middle school special education teacher and case manager. She has experience with school leadership, intervention implementation, and working with a team of stakeholders to ensure each student receives the support they need. Rachel is passionate about social-emotional learning, school-based behavioral health, and providing all schools and students with access to high-quality resources.