Student mental health crisis worsening nationwide

Mental health issues among students nationwide are surging, The Washington Post reported Dec. 5. 

Adolescent depression and anxiety were already high before the pandemic but have continued to rise despite federal funding for schools to obtain resources to step in, according to the report. 

In a survey of schools by the federal government released in March, more than 75 percent included responses from staff who said they have encountered students with depression, anxiety and trauma. 

Out of 5,000 school districts in the U.S., one-third plan to bring more mental health professionals in. Thirty percent intend to fund social-emotional learning efforts, according to a study from FutureEd, a research organization at Washington, D.C.-based Georgetown University’s McCourt School of Public Policy.

However, even with funding, many schools across the country are having issues with staffing positions with mental health professionals. Twenty percent of schools reported open mental health staff positions in 2022, according to the federal data obtained by The Washington Post.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that hospital visits for suspected suicide attempts among girls ages 12 to 17 jumped 51 percent between February and March 2021. For boys, that number increased by 4 percent. 

Separate CDC research found that 45 percent of high school students said they were consistently sad and hopeless, leading to a loss of desire to participate in normal activities. An agency survey also found that 1 in 5 considered suicide, and 9 percent of teens had considered suicide within the past year.

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