July 8, 2021

Education has a three-headed crisis; mental health is only part of it

Employers are telling us that creativity, persuasion, collaboration, adaptability and emotional intelligence are the most-in-demand skills today. But children are growing in precisely the opposite direction. They are less mentally healthy, less empathetic and less creative than they were at the beginning of the decade. We have a rising imbalance between the supply of creative, collaborative, healthy young minds, and the demand for such talent. Education has a major role to play in addressing this imbalance, starting in the early years.

In the Greek myth, Hercules prevails over Hydra by removing all its heads and burning the roots at once. Education could be our very own Hercules against the three-pronged crisis we currently face. But, similar to the legend, it will require a decisive path forward along those multiple lines of mental health, empathy and creativity, and across actors—children and adult caregivers (family, educators, health providers)—all at once. So how do we do it?

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