February 2022 is a special month at CHPS. Because schools are special places, and their importance has become even more apparent over the last two years, we are dedicating the month to the theme of well-being.  

Even before the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) and the Children’s Hospital Association (CHA) declared a National State of Emergency in children’s mental health last October, we at CHPS have been talking about the role of the school environment in student well-being and about the havoc COVID has brought. Teachers and staff are doing their best. And a new law in California that requires mental health be part of the curriculum in all health classes is welcome. But if students’ physical surroundings aren’t brought up to par, the downward spiral will continue. 

For some of us, the pandemic-related decline in our children’s mental health has been heart-wrenchingly personal. For all of us, it’s safe to say it’s been glaringly obvious. Combine the pandemic with growing racial unrest and the increase in climate change-induced natural disasters, it behooves us all to ask ourselves: What can we do to make a difference? What can we do to provide safe spaces that spur healthy learning? 

In that spirit, we have declared February 2022 to be Student, Educator & School Staff Well-Being Month. We are focused on showing how the learning environment is an integral part of well-being and why high performance school buildings have the right elements for mental health.  

Please join us for three special webinars, peruse the resources listed below for further reading, and write to us with any comments or questions you have about this extremely important topic. We can be reached at info@chps.net. 

WEBINARS

Friday, February 11, 2pm ET: Calming the School Environment, with Irene Nigaglioni and Aaron Jobson. In this session, two architects with a long history of designing high performance schools will describe the elements that go into creating a calm environment conducive to student performance and well-being. More details here  

Thursday,  February 17, 11am ET: Designing Schools for Mental Health with author Clare Latane 

Date TBD: Equity, the Physical Environment, and Well-Being with Dr. Erika Eitland, Perkins&Will, and Tracy Enger, EPA

OUR RESOURCES

CHPS' Statement on School Buildings and Anti-Racism, Published October 2020: View here

Criteria requirement/credit for Biophilic/Responsive Design, added 2021: View here

OTHER RESOURCES

US Surgeon General’s Advisory on Protecting Youth Mental Health, 2021: View here 

Advisory from California Department of Managed health Care and Surgeon General, April 2020: View here  

How Covid is Driving a Children's Mental Health Emergency, Scientific American Dec. 2021: View here