Apr 18, 2022

Mental health is a top concern for educators and students, state-wide survey reveals

Jenna Allerson
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Minnesota educators, families and students agree that addressing student and educator mental health is a top concern, according to a University of Minnesota analysis of the Minnesota Safe Learning Survey (SLS) that was distributed in the winter, spring and fall of 2021. There were more than 53,000 respondents to the three surveys from across Minnesota, and their concerns were clear. “Mental health not only consistently showed up as the most pressing concern of educators, the concern increased over time,” said Katie Pekel, the Principal in Residence at the University of Minnesota.

The SLS was distributed by the Wisconsin-Minnesota Comprehensive Center Region 10 (WMCC10) in the University of Minnesota’s College of Education and Human Development for the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE). The goal of the statewide SLS was to provide a broad picture of how those most impacted by the state’s Safe Learning Plan experienced it. 

Key Findings:
Mental health concerns:

  • Mental health support is needed for students and staff on many levels including prevention and intervention of bullying/harassment, self-harm and suicide.
  • Teaching and learning environments need to be changed to better support mental health. 

Learning & engagement: As the education landscape changed throughout 2021, so did the opinions that families, students and educators held about student learning and engagement. 

  • Students reported they learned more in fall 2021 than they had since the pandemic began in March 2020. 
  • Engaging students in learning was both successful and challenging.

The lasting effects of COVID-19. Findings from the series of three surveys (winter, spring, and fall 2021) all demonstrate that COVID-19 dramatically disrupted schooling as we know it and will have lasting effects on education moving forward. 

For more information, please refer to the:
Three-survey Minnesota Safe Learning Survey summary report
Fall 2021 Minnesota Safe Learning Survey report
Spring 2021 Minnesota Safe Learning Survey report
Winter 2021 Minnesota Safe Learning Survey report