Addressing mental health issues critical to boosting academic success
Autumn A. Arnett@A2Arnett,Aug. 8, 2018 https://www.educationdive.com/news/addressing-mental-health-issues-critical-to-boosting-academic-success/529381/,
It is estimated that 13% to 20% of children living in the United States has experienced a mental health disorder in the last year. According to the National Alliance of Mental Illness, one in five adolescents between 13 and 18 years old has or will have a serious mental illness, and suicide is the third leading cause of death for youth aged 10 to 24.
A nationwide shortage of school psychologists and counselors disproportionately affects these students as well, as they often attend more crowded, under-resourced schools, though they have the greatest need.
Some districts and universities are working to train staff to identify and, in some cases, assist students with mental illness on campus. Teachers21, a nonprofit subsidiary of William James College, a graduate college of psychology in Newton, Massachusetts, is working with classroom, school and district leaders and other school staff to build mental health treatment into their pedagogy. Trauma-informed teaching has become a popular concept, feeding into the idea of restorative justice
Most of these efforts — and a focus on social-emotional learning in general — are concentrated in elementary schools, and by the time a student reaches middle school, the emphasis begins to fizzle out. And by the time a student gets onto a college campus, efforts are all but non-existent, said Williams James President Nicholas Covino, who is a practicing psychologist.
Report calls for national strategy to help schools prevent suicide, substance abuse
Amelia Harper Aug. 13, 2018
- The Trust for America’s Health and the Well Being Trust created a joint policy paper that calls for a national strategy to improve childhood resilience and school responses to crises involving suicide, drugs and alcohol, District Administration reports.
- The issue is relevant to schools, where students spend about half their year, because suicide is now the third leading cause of death in children ages 10 to 14, and more than 1 million middle school and high school age students have a substance abuse disorder, the authors note.
- The policy paper details four main areas of concern that need to be addressed on the school level: the need to partner with community-based organizations, such as Communities that Care; the need to improve school climate through such programs as Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS); the need for proactive screening for mental health risk factors and potential substance abuse; and increased staffing of mental health workers and training of teachers.