The mental health of youngsters in America has become a growing concern as rates of depression and suicidal thoughts continue to climb. Many studies have sought ways to address the issue, and one suggestion is beginning to gain traction: Communities should consider creating mental health clinics in their high schools and middle schools.
The 2016 Children’s Mental Health Report showed young people with access to mental health treatment and services in school were 10 times more likely to seek help for mental health and substance abuse concerns than those who do not have such programs available.
The Mental Health Services for Students Act, working its way through Congress, would provide funding for public schools across the country to partner with local mental health professionals to establish on-site services. The goal is to help the approximately 1 out of 5 students who are struggling with some form of mental illness.
Children in middle and high school are facing their most influential and formative years, which can take a toll on their mental health. And many are not receiving support or attention at home for their stress and anxiety. This only places more pressure on the public school system to provide mental health care during the school day.
To prevent mental health in these young children from becoming worse later in life, experts urge communities to address these concerns as early as possible.
More and more, leaders are realizing that health care providers in schools need to look beyond the typical bumps and bruises that send kids to the infirmary. For the long-term health of the community, mental health services must be in the mix.