Yale University is now offering a variation of its most popular online course in order to help young people fight the growing mental health crisis brought on by the pandemic.
Yale will offer it for free to more than 500 low-income high school students across the United States at no cost.
According to a statement released by Yale, psychology professor Laurie Santos created the online course called “The Science of Well Being” in 2018.
It was introduced the same year as her in-person version of the course, “Psychology and the Good Life,” which attracted more than 1,200 undergraduates, or about one in four students on campus in its first semester.
Santos, who lived among students as the head of Yale’s Silliman College, said the idea for the course came to her after she saw firsthand the high levels of depression and anxiety her students were experiencing.
“This is a really challenging time, and that means that students need to learn new strategies to protect their mental health,” Santos said. “Our goal is to equip students with scientifically validated strategies for living a more satisfying life, while also creating opportunities for high-striving low-income students and students of color to demonstrate college-readiness.”
According to Yale, the course was developed in partnership with the University of Connecticut and the National Education Equity Lab with support from the Arthur M Blank Foundation.
It will ‘present students with scientifically validated strategies for living a more satisfying life and examine what psychological science shows about how to be happier, how to feel less stressed, and how to flourish more.’
In March of last year, the university began offering the online version, “The Science of Well Being,” to the public free of charge on Coursera. More than 3 million people have enrolled in the course up to date.
Santos is now bringing the program to the classrooms of more than 40 schools from 17 cities starting on February 2.
The online course is offered to high school students — which Yale did not release a name for — will be slightly modified from the original.
In addition to receiving access to the full course, the students will also be supported by both a local teacher at their high school and a Yale Teaching Fellow.
The news comes as many across America continue to struggle with their mental health.
According to Vida Health and CNN, one in six Americans has started therapy for the first time and nearly 90% of people in the US are experiencing one or more depressive symptoms during the Covid-19 pandemic.