In an effort to confront the country’s burgeoning mental health crisis, Yale University will provide free access to its “happiness” course for 550 underprivileged high school students across the United States.
This program stems from Yale Psychology Professor Laurie Santos’ highly popular in-person class “Psychology and the Good Life,” which was an instant hit among Yale undergraduates and was turned into an online course titled “The Science of Well Being.”
Hoping to help more people cope with stress and anxiety brought by the pandemic, the Ivy League school made it available to the public through Coursera last March. Starting February 2, more than 40 Title I schools from 17 cities including Atlanta, New York City, Los Angeles, and New Haven will have access to the program.
In partnership with the University of Connecticut and the National Education Equity Lab, a modified version of the curriculum, which has yet to be named, will be taught to high school students. Along with lectures from Santos, learners will be assisted by a local teacher and a teaching fellow from Yale.
“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,” shared Santos.
The Good Life
Santos was inspired to develop the course as she witnessed how students were grappling with depression and low morale. The original program discussed misconceptions about happiness, overcoming biases, realizing what provides us with true happiness, and more.
Business Insider reported that the course’s approach “was a blend of abstract and concrete.” It mixed theory with real-life applications that “helped students understand the habits they should build to lead truly happier, more fulfilled lives.”
“This is a really challenging time, and that means that students need to learn new strategies to protect their mental health,” said Santos. “Our goal is to give students the tools they need to flourish and feel better. But in addition, we can give students a rigorous Yale educational experience and an opportunity to see that they have what it takes to succeed in college and beyond.”