On August 31, NPR Ed published Part One in a series, Mental Health in Schools: A Crisis Affecting Millions of Students.
Part One in an NPR Ed series on mental health in schools.
You might call it a silent epidemic.
Up to one in five kids living in the U.S. shows signs or symptoms of a mental health disorder in a given year.
So in a school classroom of 25 students, five of them may be struggling with the same issues many adults deal with: depression, anxiety, substance abuse.
And yet most children — nearly 80 percent — who need mental health services won't get them.
Whether treated or not, the children do go to school. And the problems they face can tie into major problems found in schools: chronic absence, low achievement, disruptive behavior and dropping out.
Experts say schools could play a role in identifying students with problems and helping them succeed. Yet it's a role many schools are not prepared for.
As the school year begins, with a back drop of so much anxiety about terrorism, the election and the job skills gap (the focus of Working Nation who is partnering with Truli to address it), there will be an increasing pressure on children which will probably lead to an increase in mental illness issues that go undetected and untreated and will result in probable tragic consequences.
Even if you have too much on your plate (which you do), even if you don't have the resources to help a child in trouble (which you don't) and even if you don't have the time or patience to listen, take and make time to do so. It only takes a moment.
And if you have a chance, ask your high school if it will reach out to filmmaker, Erahm Christopher, founder of Teen Truth, who produced a film entitled, Listen. Check out this crowd funding by film producer Brooke Dooley and you'll see a trailer to the film. You'll also see a quote from me, because I saw the film in front of a high school audience. The way they opened up afterwards was astonishing, which is why I am supporting it.
Parents and school personnel find the movie daunting, but students find it life saving.
Let's not take a "Don't ask, don't tell" approach to this looming problem.
If you want to try something to get the ball rolling on a conversation you're avoiding, but need to have, check out: What Your Teenager Wants You to Know But Won't Tell You.