Career and Technical Education Needs a Mental Health Revolution

As a longtime public school occupational therapist, I know what students look and sound like when they’re ready to transition from the work lab to the workforce.

In recent years, I’ve personally witnessed more of my students struggle to make that transition or not make it at all. It has nothing to do with a lack of technical skills, as I’ve seen them master complicated vocational concepts and tasks — graphic design, woodworking, 3D printing, and CNC programming.

The struggle has everything to do with skyrocketing anxiety, depression, and trauma experienced by my students as they prepare to enter the workforce.

Our students are experiencing a mental health crisis across our state and country, and that’s something all of us can and must work to address. That’s why I’m focused on helping our general education and special education students develop job skills and strengthen their mental health while still in our hallways

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