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Home » Child/Adolescent Mental Health » Promoting Mental Health » Resilience


One of the best ways to promote social and emotional health in children and adolescents is to promote resilience.  Resilience is the ability to adapt successfully to adversity and to bounce back from difficult circumstances.  Determined by a host of biological and environmental factors, resilience is one explanation for why some children experience trauma and adapt with relative ease, while others significantly struggle under similar circumstances.

Children are not born with resilience, nor do they necessarily “keep it” once it is developed, but it can be learned.  Resilience is impacted throughout one’s life by changes in Risk and Protective Factors, developmental stages, and experiences.   Adults can help to create and support the conditions needed for resilience to develop and thrive in children and adolescents.

The wheel below identifies six major approaches to promoting resilience along with specific school and home strategies to support each of these elements.  Click on a piece of the wheel to see related strategies.

Set and communicate high expectations Provide caring and support Teach Set clear and consistent boundaries Increase pro-social bonding Provide opportunities for meaningful participation

The Resiliency Wheel was developed by Nan Henderson and Mike Milstein and first published in Resiliency In Schools: Making It Happen for Students and Educators, published by Corwin Press, 2003.