Most people will agree that one of the hardest times in their life was their time in middle and high school. You're starting to learn about yourself, the world, and you're likely to face anxiety and bullies along the way. But when a lot of us were younger, there were little to no resources to help us navigate that difficult phase of life.

Kids today may have a fighting chance of having better mental health thanks to new policies. Allegan County's Plainwell Community Schools (PCS) has embraced a revolutionary solution to address the mental health concerns of its students – the Clayful app. Launched in 2022, Clayful connects students with mental health coaches for immediate, personalized support.

PCS on facebook / Canva
PCS on facebook / Canva
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A post-pandemic survey at PCS revealed that 40 percent of middle and high school students had shared thoughts of suicide. In response, the district implemented Clayful, leading to significant positive outcomes.

Recent evaluations indicate that 37 percent of students made two or more contacts with coaches within the initial months of Clayful's rollout. Notably, engagement among PCS's male students surpassed state and national averages by threefold.

(Highwaystarz-Photography Getty Stock / ThinkStock)
(Highwaystarz-Photography
Getty Stock / ThinkStock)
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They say that the app's impact is being seen among 9th and 10th graders at PCS. Recognizing that freshmen and sophomores harbored fears of academic imperfection, the district is actively addressing test anxiety and promoting a growth-oriented mindset.

One standout feature of Clayful is its crisis management protocol. Coaches can seamlessly collaborate with the district's reporting system and safety team when faced with crisis situations, so they can quickly help any student who is having a difficult time.

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Beyond Allegan County, Clayful has been adopted by twenty districts nationwide, including Wayland Union Schools, underscoring its effectiveness in meeting students' mental health needs.

This app is a game changer for parents, teachers and students and I really hope we start to see it across Michigan soon. Clayful stands as a beacon of hope for student mental wellness in Allegan County, offering immediate and tailored support. As educational institutions navigate the complexities of modern times, initiatives like Clayful prioritize students' mental well-being, fostering a healthier and brighter future.

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