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Emotional Learning Programs for Mental Health Improvement

Introduction

Emotional learning programs may improve the population’s mental health and increase the level of educated people. It is the reason why business plans concerning the introduction of emotional development training at schools and colleges should be elaborated. According to Orton et al. (2011), public health entrepreneurial business planning stands for innovative and imaginative thoughts about the challenges in public health. Scholars argue that in order to create a business plan in the field of public health, one should apply “cold-hearted analysis” to the possible solutions to challenges (Orton et al., 2011, p. 15). Therefore, to introduce emotional learning programs at educational institutions to improve the public health state of affairs, entrepreneurs should analyze the possibilities and risks of this intervention.

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For a business plan in the field of public health to become real and help, the sector should be chosen: either private or public. As Orton et al. (2011) claim that “in the private sector, financial success is in itself an outcome: in the public sector, financial sustainability is a means to an end (more healthy communities)” (p. 34). In both ways, people improve their health by purchasing services, so the rule “health per dollar” should be kept in mind (Orton et al., 2011, p. 34).

The public sector is chosen for the business plan to increase the population’s mental health through emotional learning. Thus, the plan is meant to be implemented in public schools, colleges, and other free education places. Therefore, all the budget and other resources will be directed to financing mentors’ work, platforms creation, facilities organization, and other related staff. This part about budget management will be discussed in detail below in the text.

To introduce and popularize emotional learning programs at schools and colleges in the USA, an entrepreneur should conduct great work with different professionals. Concerning management resources of the public health business plan, one should think of “human resources, technology and/or information systems, and facilities or space” (Orton et al., 2011, p. 33). For instance, to read lectures and involve students during training, the community of professionals in emotional learning will be crucial.

Moreover, a website should be created to popularize and promote created emotional learning programs with the help of IT specialists, designers, and other workers in the field of technology and information systems. Finally, these programs need to be introduced to the heads of schools and the local government, requiring human resources. The approval of such initiative will provide the mentors with facilities and space (schools and other public sector’s places.

Social Marketing and Target Analysis Perspective of the Business Plan

Social Marketing and Potential Collaboration Points

A plan concerning public health needs to define the target audience and analyze its needs. As Orton et al. (2011) argue, an entrepreneur working in the public sector spends public money and tries to give people what they need and want (p. 53). Thus, the target audience for emotional learning programs consists of children and youngsters because it is them who will be studying. Scholars argue that emotional training has positive long-term effects on students: adolescents having a good background in emotional intelligence will have better chances to graduate, enter universities, and keep mental health at a high level (Mahoney et al., 2018).

Therefore, the project aims at children’s emotional development through schools, colleges, and other public spaces. The need is also well-defined: preserving mental health, increasing education level, and lowering crimes rates consequently.

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One potential collaboration may happen with TIK and TOTS programs. According to Orton et al. (2011), in the public sector, “competitors are the other people in the marketplace serving a need related to the one intended to be addressed” (p. 60). Therefore, it is necessary to understand what market the emotional development project is entering and who is already there (Orton et al., 2011). There are such programs as Turning in to Kids (TIK) and Turning in to Toddlers (TOTS) that focus on enhancing the emotional development of infants’ parents. Such programs increase caregivers’ awareness of preschool-aged children’s emotions, which is an efficient type of emotional education that targets parents and infants (Hajal & Paley, 2020).

TIK and TOTS focus on the relationships between parents and children, which are usually very close in the early ages of the person. However, this plan targets school-aged students who need to continue their emotional development by experiencing different situations. Therefore, the collaboration with TIK and TOTS programs may occur, which will lead to the most efficient outcome: at first, children are educated by their training, and then, at schools, they continue studying as students.

As mentioned above, one of the plan’s points lies in the popularization and promotion of emotional learning programs and their usefulness through the website created by specialists. Therefore, social marketing should be discussed as a means of the initiative’s promotion.

According to Orton et al. (2011), marketing includes three main components: message, media, and market penetration. Firstly, within the project, potential clients should understand the message that it is better to invest in health from an early age. It would be better to have a logo and a slogan representing that learning to realize and control emotions is essential to a healthy mentality and successful education. Some budget funds will be spent on marketing; for instance, the project can be promoted through such media as public lectures, posters at schools, and the website. Concerning marketing penetration, emotional learning at first should touch all the elementary public schools.

Finally, the marketing strategy claims that it will be emotional learning programs sold to schools through cooperation with the government (to target public schools) and website promotion (to target private). According to Orton et al. (2011), there are four P’s in the marketing strategy: product, pricing, place, and promotions. It will be easier to target students while cooperating with the local government.

Target Audience Analysis

There are three states of the USA where this project will be primarily in high demand: Hawaii, New York, and New Jersey. According to Mental Health America (2021), Hawaii, New York, and New Jersey are the top-3 states with the highest mentally sick rates. In Hawaii, for instance, there are 207 elementary public schools (having 1-4 grades) with approximately 500 students in each (NCES, 2019). Therefore, there are nearly 103,500 potential clients in Hawaii among the public sectors. In New York, there are nearly 2,400 schools (with 1-4 grades); thus, taking the fact that one school may have 500 students on average, there are 1,200,000 target students (NCES, 2019).

In New Jersey, 1,300 public schools have 1-4 grades, meaning there are 650,000 potential customers (NCES, 2019). Summing up the results only among three states in the USA with the highest rates of mentally ill people, the project receives a market having 3,907 schools and 1,953,500 students.

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Presentation of Proposed Operations Management

Implementation Plan

The timeline of the business project is to be presented within the GANTT chart (Appendix A). As Orton et al. (2011) claim, an implementation plan is “a detailed timeline with specific dates by which one expects to implement key actions or reach certain milestones” (p. 90). As calculated before, there is a need to acknowledge 3,907 schools in 3 states and receive their confirmation of participation in the program. Therefore, the first year of the business plan is dedicated to the experiments, research, elaboration of the detailed program, and hiring people, and the rest two years will be devoted to targeting the audience.

The goal of this 3-years plan is to target nearly 2 million students studying in the three most affected by mental illness states. During the second year, it is better to target less than half of the possible customers because the beginning is the most challenging time, and then, seeing the affirmation of others, schools will easily cooperate with the project. Thus, during the second year, it will be sufficient to target 500,000 students in 1,000 schools (if there are 500 students on average).

Thus, nearly 85 schools should learn about the discussed project and confirm their participation in it. Nine specialists are needed to contact the heads of schools (10-15 monthly) and parents committees. According to the number of schools in each state, it is better to distribute the specialists in this way: 1 in Hawaii, 3 in New Jersey, and 5 in New York. It will be possible to hire 25 specialists during the third year: 3 in Hawaii, 8 in New Jersey, and 14 in New York to target 1,500,000 students in 3,000 schools (250 schools monthly).

Proposed Budgetary and Resource Management Plans

Human resources were discussed in the previous part of the implementation plan: designers, IT specialists, firstly, nine and then 25 specialists, working with 10-15 schools in three states every month are required. Moreover, information resources were also considered in the part of social marketing; it was decided that market penetration should occur through such information sources as public lectures, posters at schools, and the project’s website. However, there are fiscal resources as a part of budgetary management that are left untouched.

During the first year, when most surveys and interviews are conducted, it will be sufficient to have $150,000 to cover interviewers’ work and program elaboration. According to statistics in the USA, communication specialists, who are needed in a number of 9 people during the second year, receive $26,790 on average (“Find Salaries,” 2021). As for communication coordinator, which is required in a number of one person per state, the salary is $45,540.

Thus, the project requires $377,730 during the second year only for workers’ salaries. Nearly $1,000 is required for 40 hours of web designer’s work, and $70,000 for the web developer, who will create the website and support it during the whole project. Overall, $450,000 funding is needed to implement the business plan during the second year (some printed posters and other stuff are included). This amount of money will be increased to $880,000 during the third year. This project has long-term consequences and aims to receive such profits as preservation of elementary students’ mental health, increasing the number of high school graduates, and lowering crime rates.

Public Health Business Plan Evaluation

Quality Improvement

The project will be considered successful if more than 70% of discussed schools accept participation, and the government will provide the necessary funding. According to Orton et al. (2011), it is crucial to define specific measures of the business’s success and plan money and time spent on evaluating the project (p. 107). During the first year of the emotional development project, many interviews and surveys will be conducted; therefore, the business will have a specific understanding of the market and customers’ needs. However, after the second year, a new wave of interviews is planned to be organized. This is a measure of the program’s evaluation and quality improvement (QI), helping to learn the opinion of participants.

Potential Exit Strategy

Although some factors may lead the plan to failure, there are exit strategies. Firstly, the idea can be unaccepted by parents/teachers, but this can be changed by public lectures and providing facts and researches that prove that emotional learning is significant for children. Secondly, in case of insufficient funding, there is a possibility to try crowdfunding platforms and attract other investors. Thirdly, if there would be a lack of partners helping to elaborate the program, other human sources may be attracted: psychologists, teachers, and private mentors. Fourthly, an unchanged situation during the first year can show the project’s failure.

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However, maybe the target states should be reconsidered in this case. Finally, an insufficient number of teachers on emotional education is also a severe problem, but other teachers could change their subject, so other questionnaires should be conducted.

If nothing helps, the project will exit the market without severe damages. Most communication specialists will be hired for a year or two, so they will know that this is not their permanent job. In addition, each of them will need to serve 10-15 schools, which will take a couple of hours during the working day. Other employees as designers, web developers, and interviewers are also freelancers who do not expect to work for years on this project. What concerns facilities, public places (as libraries, open spaces, co-working, and schools) are planned to be used. Thus, exiting the market should not be very damaging for this project.

Conclusion

The project concerns introducing primary and elementary schools’ based emotional development programs in three states with the highest rates of mentally sick people: Hawaii, New York, and New Jersey. Emotional learning was chosen to preserve mental health, increase the number of high school graduates, and lower the crime rates, and is based on conducted research in the field of public health. The project has a three-year implementation plan, including marketing, managing human and information resources, quality improvement, and exit strategies.

References

Hajal, N. J., & Paley, B. (2020). Parental emotion and emotion regulation: A critical target of study for research and intervention to promote child emotion socialization. Developmental Psychology, 56(3), 403-417.

Find Salaries. (2021). Indeed. Web.

Mahoney, J. L., Durlak, J. A., & Weissberg, R. P. (2018). An update on social and emotional learning outcome research. Phi Delta Kappan, 100(4), 18-23.

Mental Health America. (2021). Adult Ranking 2021. Web.

NCES. (2019). School and College Search. Web.

Orton, S. N., Menkens, A. J., & Santos, P. (2011). Public health business planning: A practical guide. Jones & Bartlett Learning.

Appendix A

2022-2023
2022
2021-2022
2023-2024
2023

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