How Do You Teach Teenagers Resiliency Skills?

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Teen Wellness uses $25K award from 1440 Foundation to go multimedia.

Teen Wellness (, winner of last year’s 1440 Foundation award, has now released a new version of their online program, promising to help address the epidemic social and emotional issues experienced among teenagers today.

Teen Wellness is an online interactive education program school counselors use to teach resiliency skills to students facing common yet often difficult social and emotional challenges. The new release introduces a multimedia learning experience to the program.

In a private, online environment, struggling teenagers can now watch inspirational video stories from teenagers facing various challenges, learn skills and lessons taught through chalkboard videos, read related character stories, and apply their learning to their own personal situations. As part of the program, school counselors can interact with students, monitor student progress, and help their students overcome their challenges.

The Teen Wellness concept originated from the academic research of Dr. Benjamin Van Voorhees of the University of Illinois. As a pediatrician studying adolescents, Van Voorhees observed that teenagers today need to learn coping skills in order to manage today’s environment of information overflow, fierce peer competition, family conflicts, a pessimistic economy, among many other sources of stress. Mevident, Inc. (, an online wellness platform developer, collaborated with Van Voorhees to develop Teen Wellness, and launched the full program in 2011 in partnership with Naviance, a college and career readiness platform.

Schools and counselors found the initial version of the Teen Wellness program to be an excellent teaching tool. However, teenagers found it lacking in visual content and not engaging them personally. Teenagers expressed that they don't like to be lectured by adults about their lives, particularly when trust is not in place. They would rather engage in learning at their own level and by their own peers.

When the 1440 Foundation, which promotes authentic relationships in the education market, came across the initial Teen Wellness program in the 1440 Challenge last year, it saw the vision it could become and awarded the Teen Wellness a $25K grant. Under this funding and the guidance of the 1440 Foundation, Teen Wellness transformed the program to incorporate a multimedia experience with which teenagers could feel visually engaging lesson materials are authentically provided for them to become resilient and happier.

"We are thrilled to see the transformation of Teen Wellness and can’t wait to see the response from students and school counselors. Teen Wellness will help students to get back in touch with themselves and develop skills essential to achieving their happiness," says Joanie Kriens, Director of the 1440 Foundation.

"I started my research program, CATCH-IT, (Competent Adulthood Transition With Cognitive, Humanistic and Interpersonal Teaching), an online mental health intervention for teenagers, 10 years ago," says Van Voorhees. "Today, I am excited to see my effort will help many students through Teen Wellness."

Teen Wellness offers free opportunities for schools and counselors to review this new release and even try it out with their students. Schools and counselors can obtain evaluation accounts through this link:

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Alec Jeong
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