Tuesday, January 15, 2013

School Mental Health Services

National data from several studies show that millions of U.S. children and youth suffer from mental illness, ranging in severity from daily sadness to major depression or suicide attempts.

Many children's conditions go undetected and untreated. Those who do get help are most likely to receive mental health services from professionals at their public school, such as guidance counselors, school psychologists, and school social workers.

In a recent report on school mental health services, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services presented the results of a national survey of public K-12 schools and district offices. Nearly three-fourths of schools "reported that 'social, interpersonal or family problems' were the most frequent mental health problems for both male and female students." This extended across elementary, middle, and high schools.

For boys, the second most frequent problem was aggression or disruptive behavior, and the third most common was behavior problems connected with neurological disorders such as ADHD. For girls, the second and third most common problems were anxiety and adjustment issues. Fortunately, several mental health services were available to these students at the vast majority of schools.3 However, services are often insufficient—nearly 70% of districts faced an increased need for mental health services at the same time that funding was decreasing. Over half of schools said that families could not afford additional services they needed, leaving many of our children at risk.
Source: Suzanna Smith for Family Album Radio, University of Florida Extension

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