Schools For Strong Minds

Giving school leaders the data and insights they need to strategically improve student wellbeing

Mental wellbeing has been in freefall in younger generations. Today, over half of adolescents are struggling with their mental health compared to less than ten percent in older generations.

Understanding and tackling the root causes of this decline in adolescent mental health can help schools prevent these problems before they begin.

The Schools for Strong Minds Program provides schools with the data and insights they need so that they can be strategic about their policies and programs in this context.

We are seeking 10 secondary schools to participate in a new pilot study. Thanks to the generous support of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF), those schools will be able to participate at no cost. Set up time to learn more.

Root Causes Of Youth Mental Wellbeing Decline That Schools Can Impact

Ultra-processed food consumption

Regularly eating ultra-processed foods has a negative impact on mental wellbeing. Over half of those who eat ultra-processed food daily are distressed or struggling with their mental health, compared to just 18% of those who rarely or never consume ultra-processed food. Read more about the specific effects of UPF in our report.

Early smartphone ownership

Mental wellbeing consistently improves with older age of first ownership of a smartphone or tablet, especially among females. One possible reason for this trend? The data shows that the “social self,” how we view ourselves and relate to others, improved dramatically and problems with suicidal thoughts declined steeply with older age of first smartphone ownership. Read more about smartphones and mental wellbeing.

Deterioration of friendships

There is a decline across generations in the proportion of people reporting that they had friends who they could confide in or who would help them out. Only 64% of 18-24 year olds had friends that they could confide in, and only 51% had friends who would help them out. Learn more about the state of friendships and their impact on mental wellbeing.

Frequency of Exercise

Exercise has a significant impact on mental wellbeing. Those who exercised 30 minutes per day had an average MHQ (mental health quotient) that was 46 points higher than those who rarely or never exercised. Read more about the impact of exercise on mental wellbeing.

How The Program Works

Sapien Labs partners with a wide array of schools using a 3-step process.

The Schools For Strong Minds Program is being generously supported by a grant from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF).

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