Permission to Feel, We Need This Book Now More Than Ever

One of the things that has been at the forefront of my mind in the past few weeks has been my heightened concern for the emotional well-being of the members of our school community. While many conversations center around grades and curriculum, I cannot stop wondering about the mental health of staff, students, and parents

Because of these concerns and my own heightened anxiety due to this pandemic, I am going to start a book discussion of Marc Brackett’s Permission to Feel beginning on Monday, May 4. As I have listened to the chapters of the book during my walks, I keep thinking this is the book that WE ALL need right now.

Even before we left school during the second week of March, there were troubling signs about the mental health of students, staff, and the world at large.

Brackett highlights statistics the following in the Prologue of Permission to Feel:

  • From 2016-2017, more than one in three students across 196 U.S. college campuses reported diagnosed mental health conditions. Some campuses have reported a 30 percent increase in mental health problems per year.
  • Anxiety orders are the most common mental illness in the U.S. affecting 25 percent of children between thirteen and eighteen years old.
  • Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide.

Closer to home, we have very similar statistics. Our most recent Youth Risk Behavior Survey found the following for MA students :

Nearly a third of high school students reported feeling sad or hopeless every day for two or more weeks in a row, inhibiting them from performing usual activities and twelve percent considered suicide. Our numbers in Burlington and the Middlesex League high schools are right on the state average.

This is a Critical Time

While we have this brief hiatus from our schools and classrooms, we all spend our days wondering what life will be like when we get back. One thing that is sure is that we will enter buildings and classrooms where every member of our school community has experienced some level of trauma. Those of us who are able to have a better understanding of our emotions and the emotions of those around us will have a smoother transition back. The tools in this book and the ensuing conversations will help us achieve this goal.

How You Can Participate

I have started a Facebook Page where I will post discussion questions each Monday. The discussion on the Facebook Page will be asynchronous, so you can share your thoughts any time.

The Schedule

Week of May 4 – Part 1 (Prologue and Chapters 1-3)

Week of May 11 – Part 2 (Chapters 4-8)

Week of May 18 – Part 3 (Chapters 9-11)

Week of May 25 – Creating an Emotion Revolution – Concrete Actions you will take based on the book

Please join me!

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