Campus Safety & Security
Mental Health Tops Safety Concerns in K–12
In K–12 schools, student mental health has overtaken COVID-19 safety measures as the top concern for the 2022–2023 school year.
According to new research from Rave Mobile Safety, student mental health ranked No. 1 among K–12 education professionals', with 61% of respondents citing it as one of their top concerns. The No. 2 spot was a tie between faculty and staff mental health and COVID-19 safety measures, with 52% of respondents citing each as a top concern.
That contrasts fairly dramatically with findings on the higher ed side, where COVID-related safety measures came easily in first place, with 71% of college/university respondents citing it as a top concern.
Compared with a year ago, a majority (59%) are more concerned than before about the state of students' mental health, with about half of those "much more concerned."
Even more, 72%, are more concerned about staff and faculty mental health than they were a year ago, with most of those "much more concerned."
The report, Crisis Communication and Safety in Education Survey: Concerns, Challenges & Planning for the 2022–2023 School Year, involved responses from more than 800 K–12 and higher education professionals in "administration, emergency management, facilities and operations, IT services, marketing and communications, safety and security and student services."
Among other major safety concerns for the coming school year were:
- Maintaining staff at 51%;
- Bullying or cyberbullying at 41%;
- Physical health of students and faculty and staff at 31% each;
- Active assailants at 26%;
- Crime at 23%; and
- Severe weather at 21%.
As far as addressing these concerns, the study found that 43% will increase investment in mental health resources. (Surprisingly, exactly half of respondents said they already have enough resources to support students, and 42% said they have enough to support staff and faculty.) Other measures respondents said they expect to implement included:
- Increasing availability of health and wellness resources (40%);
- Increased investment in COVID-related safety resources (33%);
- Increased spending on safety/security staff, including police (29%);
- Daily checks for health for students (28%) and staff (27%);
- Increased investment in security-related technology (20%); and
- Increased spending on "physical hardening," such as bullet-proof glass (16%).
"Though COVID-19 will have a lesser direct influence over K–12 schools in the 2022-2023 school year, there are still major challenges ahead," according to the report's authors. "Administrators anticipate that mental health support needs will increase dramatically for students, faculty and staff. Meeting these needs will be essential for maintaining safe and secure learning environments for all."
Further details on the report can be found on Rave Mobile Safety's website.