Educational leaders are calling for activities and events on March 27 to draw attention to the need for social-emotional learning (SEL) programs to help combat a mental health crisis that is threatening our nation’s youth.

“We know that SEL – in its various forms (e.g., character development, whole child education, positive youth development, school culture and climate improvement) – changes lives,” Dr. Maurice J. Elias, professor of psychology at Rutgers University, wrote in a recent email to colleagues promoting the event.

“Working together, we can raise awareness for SEL, bring on new SEL stakeholders, create artifacts that demonstrate SEL in action, showcase SEL, advocate for SEL, support SEL implementation, share SEL best practices…and more,” wrote Elias, director of the Rutgers Social-Emotional and Character Development Lab, and co-director of the Academy for Social-Emotional Learning in Schools.

For more information about the event, which is being billed as the first “National and International SEL Day,” go here.

Said Elias: “It’s not about what you do on March 27, 2020. The date is a focal point for worldwide SEL activities taking place… Please share this message…Ask your constituents to go to the website now and indicate what activity or activities they will undertake to promote SEL and SEL Day.”

NJSBA Executive Director Dr. Lawrence S. Feinsod said that improving the emotional health of students can save lives and stop tragedies before they occur.

“To learn more about the mental health crisis that is threatening the future of our children, I urge board members to read our mental health task force report, ‘Building a Foundation for Hope,’ and find out what steps might be appropriate for their districts,” Feinsod said.

SEL4US and The Urban Academy are among the organizations sponsoring the event.