Mental Health Supports in Schools

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), in partnership with the Now is the Time (NITT) Technical Assistance Center, developed an issue brief entitled “Mental Health and Academic Achievement” that highlights the importance of mental health supports in schools (the following is excerpted from that issue brief).

“Approximately 1 in 6 school-aged youth experiences impairments in life functioning due to a mental illness, and the number of young people experiencing mental illness increases as young people grow older (Perou et al., 2013). The most prevalent mental illnesses in school-aged young people include attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), behavioral or conduct problems, anxiety, and depression (Perou et al., 2013). Half of mental illnesses emerge during or before adolescence, and three-quarters emerge before the age of 25, meaning that mental illness places a disproportionate burden on young people, yet fewer than half of young people with mental illness receive adequate treatment (Kessler et al., 2007). When left untreated or undertreated, coping with the pain of mental illness can contribute to self-harm, including thoughts of suicide, which is now the second leading cause of death for young people ages 10-24 (CDC, 2014). Fortunately, the earlier mental health concerns are detected and addressed, the more likely the young person is to avoid the onset and/or progression of a mental illness (Baskin et al., 2010). Outside of the young person’s home, schools are the most likely place where mental health concerns will be detected. Young people spend most of their day at school interacting with several adults and peers, all of whom can be empowered to help connect those suffering from mental health concerns to early intervention and treatment supports.”

Throughout the month of May, Project AWARE Ohio will release e-newsletters that highlight resources that can assist you in providing mental health supports to your students, beginning with our mental health screening resource.