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Teens need to learn social health. Here’s how these skills can combat poor mental heal

Social health is one of the most important skills our kids can learn.

Your kid’s take PE in school – a required class specifically designed for their physical health. Well Author and Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, David Kozlowski, is advocating for different kind of curriculum. He wants all children to learn social health.

David believes our nation’s youth mental health crisis is not a mental health problem. Instead, it’s a social health problem that has very serious mental health side effects.


The Journey to Social Health

David’s journey towards advocating for social health began back in 2010. He and some local youth came together and identified social health as a way to correct the mental health crisis. “The way mental health typically works is, for example, someone is suicidal, they’ll be sent to a mental health hospital,” David explained.

But after leaving the hospital, David said these individuals could be in a math class the next morning. He believes there’s a big gap between helping someone not die and then giving them day-to-day treatment to help support.

This is difficult for mental health professionals because they don’t see kids that often. “You know who sees kids more often? Their teachers. Schools. That’s where we should start. That’s where rubber meets the road,” David asserted.

Defining Social Health

So how does David define social health? “Social health is one’s ability to build, maintain, and improve mutually beneficial relationships in all these following categories, but not limited to family, friends, online relationships, peer relationships, and relationships with technology. Not just online, but the actual devices. On top of that, your relationship with your environment and the relationship with yourself. You bring that relationship to every other relationship in your life.”

Where Did We Go Wrong?

David believes that the link fell out of the chain when we started to fix problems instead of preventing them. “Mental health as an industry was never set up to prevent mental health problems from ever happening. Mental health has had to do that in recent years. We’ve had to reverse engineer it and go back, but it’s a different discipline,” he said.

The Role of Relationships

Research from UCLA, Harvard, BYU, and John Hopkins has shown that 91% of the reasons why youth are becoming suicidal are related to relationships. “We missed it because it was too simple.”

David believes that social health should be a core class and curriculum in K-12 education. “If we want to be able to protect our children, we’ve got to help them be competent in the most important thing, which is their relationships,” he said.

David’s work is a reminder of the importance of social health in our education system. His book, available on Amazon and Audible, provides more insights into this topic. Find it at

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