The following studies suggest several ways to insure optimal library services to address the health information needs of students. Additionally, a dozen relevant websites serve as a starting point to share online health information with the school community.
Alexander, K., Entwisle, D., & Olson, L. (2014). The long shadow. New York, NY: Russell Sage Foundation.
This longitudinal study found that the resources and strength of a child’s family tended to exert a powerful influence over a child’s future. Income and education levels – one’s socioeconomic status – are strongly linked to all sorts of health measures, including disease susceptibility and lifespan. Therefore, teacher librarians should provide and promote health-related resources as well as collaborate with school faculty and specialists to teach health literacy and healthy life choices.
Janyna Mumbauer and Viki Kelchner (2017) Promoting mental health literacy through bibliotherapy in school-based settings. Professional School Counseling,.21(1), 85-94. http://professionalschoolcounseling.org/doi/pdf/10.5330/1096-2409-21.1.85
One in five children has or has had a mental disorder in a given year, so the demand for mental health services within the school setting is immense. Bibliotherapy can serve as a preventative and responsive treatment for increasing mental health literacy within the school setting. The authors review relevant bibliotherapy and mental health literacy research, introduce the concept of mental health literacy in the school setting, and provide counselors and educators with practical tools and beginning bibliography to implement the concept. While teacher librarians are not trained in bibliotherapy, they are well positioned to collaborate with school counselors to ensure that appropriate resources are available for the school community.
LeBourgeois, M. K., Hale, L., Chang, A. M., Akacem, L. D., Montgomery-Downs, H. E., & Buxton, O. M. (2017). Digital media and sleep in childhood and adolescence. Pediatrics, 140(Supplement 2), S92-S96. https://www.colorado.edu/lab/sleepdev/sites/default/files/attached-files/s92.full_.pdf
A study published in Pediatrics found an association between the use of digital devices before bedtime and inadequate and disrupted sleep in children and adolescents. The report finds that underlying mechanisms of these associations likely include the following: (1) time displacement (for example, time spent on screens replaces time spent sleeping and other activities); (2) psychological stimulation based on media content; and (3) the effects of light emitted from devices on circadian timing, sleep physiology, and alertness. Teacher librarians can share this information with the school community to help address this problem.
Patchin, J. W., & Hinduja, S. (2017). Digital self-harm among adolescents. Journal of Adolescent Health, 61(6), 761-766. https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Justin_Patchin/publication/319937554_Digital_Self-Harm_Among_Adolescents/links/59caf15ba6fdcc451d582736/Digital-Self-Harm-Among-Adolescents.pdf
Digital self-harm is a new problem that demands scholarly attention. Factors found to be involved in self-harm included sexual orientation, experience with school bullying and cyberbullying, drug use, participation in various forms of adolescent deviance, and depressive symptoms. This study’s findings showed that boys were more likely to report digital self-harm, and the risk of digital self-harm was three times higher among non-heterosexual youths and 12 times higher among those who were cyberbullying victims. Importance of this research shows that Understanding the motivations behind this behavior, and how it correlates to offline self-harm and suicidal ideation, can help teacher librarians work with health professionals toward informed prevention approaches.