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SEL and Mental Health, there is a difference: Preparing for a new era in schools

TechXtend and our partners at Sharpen are offering a series of chats about mental health in schools.  Our focus is to provide an overview of the mental health challenges that have been intensified by remote learning and the stresses of COVID and some best practices that districts can employ to assist students, teachers and parents as they return to the school environment. 

This presentation will outline the research and differences between social-emotional learning and mental health literacy.  The two are often referred to interchangeably, but they are not the same.  SEL is a critical component in every school’s curriculum, but it is only one protective factor that leads to a mentally healthy school community.  

Download our suicide prevention resource guide here.
Download the handout from this session

Now, more than ever, it is important for educators to know the resources, tools and best practices available to improve mental health outcomes in and out of the classroom.  


Dr. Gregory Firn
With 32 years of experience in education and over eight years of private sector leadership, Greg has done everything from teaching to running entire school districts to launching new products and services into the K-12 space. Greg’s deep experience and passion for helping under-served children has been instrumental in helping companies develop the products and strategies that will successfully serve the K-12 education market.

An avid writer and speaker, Dr. Firn has written over 150 educational research abstracts published by Effective Schools Ltd. as well as presented to over 50 different conferences, workshops, and trainings on various topics in education and business. 

Dr. Firn earned his doctorate from Seattle Pacific University where his research focused on learner-centered education. Originally from Tacoma, Washington, Dr. Firn is the product of the public school system including an undergraduate degree from Washington State University.

Robyn Hussa Farrell is CEO and co-Founder of Sharpen and has been working since 2006 to develop and distribute evidence-based mental health prevention programs for K-12 schools and communities.  Working with researchers in public health, psychology and education, Robyn built a series of live professional development programs on identifying serious mental illnesses in schools and implementing mindfulness based stress reduction in the classroom setting.  She served as the Resilient Schools mindfulness trainer in South Carolina Resilient Schools initiatives, served as SC Youth Suicide Prevention county coordinator through the SC Department of Mental Health, and has presented at more than 50 national medical and educational conferences.  She holds a Masters in Fine Arts from University of Virginia, is an advanced yoga teacher through the Yoga Alliance, has had her research published in peer-reviewed medical journals, and is a certified MBSR instructor and certified NAMI NH Connect suicide postvention trainer.

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