An exciting new approach to conquering severe anxiety may have remarkable results for HHS students. EmpowerU is a highly personalized, online social-emotional course with embedded daily coaching from trained therapists. It is designed to overcome the kind of crippling anxiety that causes withdrawal and absenteeism. In 20-minute sessions each school day over a 14-week period, the program builds skills and strategies and teaches coping skills to help students stay in, or return to, school and to apply to future challenges. Personal goals and lessons for each student are set after a full intake, which includes input from the student, caregivers, and school; and personal relationships between the student and therapist develop through frequent texts and emails.
The course is aligned with national wellness standards and is a proven intervention: at other schools where it has been implemented, 93% of students make significant progress and 100% recommend it to others. HEF is funding a 20-student pilot of EmpowerU for one calendar year. According to NAMI, 1 in 3 students identify with anxiety or depression; Hopkins Public Schools is adding this tool to their toolbox to teach the vital resilience skills some need to excel and engage in school.
Submitter: Denise Colicchia